The works. A new ed. Illustrated with one hundred and twelve full-page wood engravings

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LIBRARY of the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO by

THE ESTATE OF THE LATE

MARY SINCLAIR

i^ i-y

vU. of-i/.Jf ^^^^i^tJ

A

WILLOW BOUGH GAVE THEM ONE CHANCE.

—A Perilous Secret, BxADE, Volume

Six.

Chapter V.

THE WORKS OF

Charles Reade A NEW EDITION

Illustrated

with

IN NINE

VOLUHES

One Hundred and Twelve

Wood

Full-Page

Engravings

WHITE

LIES

A PERILOUS SECRET

VOLUME

SIX

^1

New York

PETER FENELON COLLIER, PUBLISHER

#

PR* SXfO

CONTENTS OF VOLUME

SIX.

PAas

WHITE LIES

5

A PERILOUS SECRET

268

OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

LIST

OHAPTSB

WHITE "I never saw two such pretty

girls together "

He mounted the squab dun and

little

Both men became conscious

Out flashed the

colonel's

fiery

iv.

what is the matter

odd-job

of another

man

to the

"

ix.

wars

xxxiv.

?

sound

xxxvii.

sword

xl.

Colonel Dujardin walked quickly

with his

ii.

cantered oS

" Oh, monsieur," said Josephine, "

The sergeant marched the

LIES.

down between

the two lines, looking

eye into the men's eyes on his right

A PERILOUS He looked down on her in an agony

'.

SECRET.

of foreboding

1.

A willow bough gave them one chance " Yes, dear," said Mary, and in another

garden

He showed her the

v.

moment

they were walking in the ,

certificate

The rescuing party at work

;

she read the fatal words, " Walter Clifford "

in the

mine

xl.

xii.

xvi. xxii.

WHITE CHAPTER

I.

TowAKD the close of the last century, the Baron de Beaurepaire lived in the chateau of that name in Brittany. His family was of prodigious antiquity. Seven successive harons had already flourished on this spot of France when a young-er son of the house accompanied his neighbor the Duke of Normandy in his descent on England, and was rewarded by a grant of land, on which he dug a moat and built a chateau, and called it Beaurepaire the worthy natives turned this into Borreper without an instant's dela3^ Since that daj' more than twenty gentlemen of the same lineage had held in turn chateau and lands, and tlie original handed them down to their present lord. Thus rooted in his native Brittany Henri Lionel Marie St. Quentin de Beaurepaire was as fortunate as any man can be pronounced before he dies. He had health, rank, a good income, a fair domain, a goodly house, a loving wife, and two lovely young daughters all veneration and affection. Two months every year he visited the Faubourg St. Germain and the Court. At both ever^^ gentleman and every lackey knew his name and his face his return to Brittany after this short absence was celebrated by a rustic fete. Above all. Monsieur de Beaurepaire possessed that treasure *of treasures, conHe hunted no heartburns. Ambitent. Why should he tion did not tempt him. listen to long speeches, and court the unworthy, and descend to intrigue, for so precarious and equivocal a prize as a ;

;

LIES. when he could be de Beaurepaire without trouble or loss Social ambition could of self-respect ? get little hold of him. Let parvenus give balls half in doors half out, and light two thousand lamps, and waste their substance battling and maneuvering for fashionable distinction ; he had nothing to gain by such foolerj'-, nothing to lose by modest living he was the twenty-ninth Baron of Beaurepaire. So wise, so proud, so little vain, so strong in health and wealth and honor, one would have said nothing less than an earthquake could shake this gentleman and his house. Yet both were shaken, though rooted by centuries to the soil. But it was by no vulgar earthquake. For years France had bowed in silence beneath two galling burdens a selfish and corrupt monarchy, and a multitudinous, privileged, lazy, and oppressive aristocracy, by whom the peasant, though in France he is the principal proprietor of the soil, was handled like a Russian serf. Now when a high-spirited nation has been long silent under oppression tremble oppressors The shallow misunderstand nations as they do men. They fear where no fear is, and play cribbage over a volcano. Such are they who expect a place in the government,

;

:



!

in England whenever England grumbles half a note higher than usual. They do not see that she is venting her ill-humor instead of bottling it, and get-

revolt

ting her grievance redressed

gradually the old lady who pinches us when the engine lets off its steam with a mighty pother. Then it is she fears an explosion. Such are they

and

safely.

Such

is

(5)



;

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE. who read

the frothy bombast of Italian Republicans, and fancy that nation of song-, superstition, and slavery is goingto be free is worthy to be free has the heart or the brains or the soul to





be

free.

Such were the British placemen, and the pig--headed King-, who read the calm, businesslike, respectful, yet dig-nified and determined address of the American colonists, and arg-ued thus "What, they don't bluster; these then are men we can bully."* Such were the French placemen, who did not see how tremendous the dang-er to that corrupt g-overnment and lawless aristocracy, when an ardent people raised their heads, after centuries of brooding-,

to aveng-e centuries of wrong.

We all know this wonderful history.

How the

feeble king

passage of

was neither

woman, nor man — could

neither concede with grace nor resist with cannon. How his head fell at a moment when it was monstrous to pretend the liberties of the nation ran any risk from the poor old cipher. How the dregs of the nation came uppermost and passed for '*the

people."

How

law,

religion,

common

sense, and humanity hid their faces, the scaffold streamed with innocent blood,

and terror reigned. France was preyed

by unclean They made her a bankrupt, and they were busy on

beasts, half ass, half tiger.

cutting her throat, as well as rifling her when Heaven sent her a Man. He drove the unclean beasts off her

pockets,

suffering body, and took her in his hand, and set her on high among the nations. But ere the Hero came among whose



many

glories let this be written, that he

fighting man, yet ended civil slaughter what wonder that many an honest man and good Frenchman de-

was a



* Compare the manifestoes of Italian Republicans with the proclamations and addresses of the American colonists i.e., compare the words of the men of words with the words of the men of deeds the men who fail with the men who



succeed; it is a lesson inhuman nature. They differ as a bladder froai a bludgeon, or Harlequin's sword from Noll Cromwell's.

spaired of France. Among these was M. de Beaurepaire. These Republicans murderers of kings, murderers of women, and persecutors of children were, in his eyes, the most horrible monsters Humanity ever groaned under. He put on black for the king, and





received no visits. He brooded in the chateau, and wrote and received letters and these letters all came and went by private hands. He felled timber. He raised large estate.

sums

of

money upon

He then watched

his

his opportunity,

and on pretense of a journey disappeared from the chateau. Three months after, a cavalier, dust}'' and pale, rode into the courtyard of Beaurepaire, and asked to see the baroness he hung his head, and held out a letter. It contained a few sad words from M. de Larochejaquelin. The baron had just fallen in La Vendee, fighting, like his ancestors, on the side of the Crown. From that hour till her death the baroness wore black. The mourner would have been arrested, and perhaps beheaded, but for a friend, ;

the last in the world on whom the family reckoned for any solid aid. Doctor St. Aubin had lived in the chateau twenty years. He was a man of science, and did not care a button for money ; so he had retired from the practice of medicine, and pursued his researches with ease under .the baron's roof. They all loved him, and laughed at his occasional reveries, in the days of prosperity ; and now, in one great crisis, the protege became the pro-

and his own. ups and downs. This amiable theorist was one of the oldest verbal Republicans in Europe. This is the less to be wondered at that in theory a Republic is the perfect form of government. It is merely in practice that it is impossible ; it is only upon going off paper into reality, and trying actually to self-govern old nations, with limited territory and time to heat themselves white hot with the fire of politics and the bellows of bombast, that the thing resolves tector, to their astonishment

But

it

was an age

of



;

WHITE itself

into

moonshine and bloodshed

;

repaire.

Assig-nats were abundant at this time, but good mercantile paper a notorious coward had made itself wings and fled, and specie was creeping into strong-boxes, like a startled rabbit into its hole. The fine was paid, but Beaurepaire had to be heavily mortgaged, and the loan bore a high rate of interest. This was no sooner arranged than it transpired that the baron just before his death had contracted large debts, for which his estate was answerable. The baroness sold her carriage and horses, and both she and her daughters prepared to deny themselves all but the bare necessaries of life, and pay off their debts if possible. On this their depend-



their fairfell awa}'- from them weather friends came no longer near them ; and many a flush of indignation crossed their brows, and many an aching

ents

;

pang their hearts, as adversity revealed to them the baseness and inconstancy of people high or low. When the other servants had retired with their wages, one Jacintha remained behind, and begged permission to speak to the baroness.

common

"

What would .you with me, my child

?

"

asked that high-bred l3idy, with an accent in which a shade of surprise mingled with great politeness. " Forgive me, madame the baroness," began Jacintha, wdth a formal courtesy " but how can I leave you and Mademoiselle Josephine, and Mademoiselle Laure ? Reflect, madame I was born at Beaurepaire my mother died in the chateau my father died in the village but he had meat every day from the baron's own :

;

;

;

and fuel from the baron's wood, and died blessing the house of Beaurepaire Mademoiselle Laure, speak for me! Ah, you weep it is then that you see it Ah, no madame. is impossible I can go. forgive me I cannot go. I will not go The others are gone because prosperity is here no longer. Let it be so I will stay till the sun shines again upon the chateau, and then j^ou shall send mo. away if it seems good to you but not now, my ladies Oh, not now Oh oh oh " The warm-hearted girl burst out sobbing ungracefully. " My child," said the baroness, '* these sentiments touch me, and honor you. But retire if yo\i please, while I consult table,

each in indefinite proportions. Doctor St. Aubin had for years talked and written speculative Republicanism. So, not knowing- the man, they assumed him to be a Republican. They applied to him to know whether the baroness shared her husband's opinions, and he boldly assured them she did not he added, " She On this audacious is a pupil of mine." statement they contented themselves with laying a heavy fine on the lands of Beau-



LIES.



!

!

;

;

;

;

!

!

!

!

!

my daughters." Jacintha cut her sobs dead short, and retreated with a most cold and formal reverence. The consultation consisted of the baroness opening her arms, and both her

daughters embracing her at once. "My •children there are then some who love you." " No you, mamma It is you we all !

!

!

love."

a

Three women were now the only pillars, man of science and a servant of all

work the only outside props, the buttresses, of the great old

house of Beau-

repaire.

As months de

rolled on,

Beaurepaire

Laure Aglae Rose

her natural bereavement and poverty so strong are youth and health and temperament. But her elder sister had grief all her own. Captain Dujardin, a gallant young officer, well born, and his

gayety

recovered

in spite of



own master, had courted her

-with

her

parents' consent ; and even when the baron began to look coldly on the soldier of the Republic, young Dujardin, though too proud to encounter the baron's irony

and looks

of scorn,

to pique.

He came

would not yield love no more to the chateau but he would wait hours and hours on the path to the little oratory in the park, on the bare chamce of a passing word or even a kind look from Josephine. So much devotion gradually won a heart which in happier times she had been half ;

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

8

encouraged to give him and when he her on a military service of uncommon danger, the woman's reserve melted, and, in answer to his prayers and tears, she owned for the first time tliat she loved him hetter than anything in the world except duty and honor. They parted in deep sorrow, but full of ;

left

hope.

Woman-like she comforted him through her tears. ""Be prudent for my sake, if not for your own. May God watch over you Your danger is our only fear ; for we are a united family. My father will never !

force

my inclinations

;

these

unhappy

dis-

sensions will soon cease and he will love

you again.

I

do not say

'

Be

constant.'

I will not wrong either mj^self or you by a doubt but promise me to come back in " life, oh, Camille, Camille Then it was his turn to comfort and console her. He promised to come back alive, and with fresh honors, and so more worthy the Demoiselle de Beaurejjaire. They pledged their faith to one an;

!

other.

Letters from the camp breathing a devotion little short of worship fed Josephine's attachment ; and more than one public mention of his name and services made her proud as well as fond of the fiery young soldier. The time was not yet come that she could open her whole heart to her parents. The baron was now too occupied with the state to trouble his head about love fancies. The baroness, like many parents,

looked on her daughter as a girl, though she was twenty years old She belonged, passionate love too, to the old school. in a lady's heart before marriage was with her contrary to etiquette, and therefore improper; and, to her, the great word " improper " included the little word '^ impossible" in one of its many folds. Josephine loved her sister very tenderly ; but Laure was three years her junior, and she shrank with modest delicacy from making her a confidante of feelings the bare relation of which leaves the female hearer a child no longer. Thus Josephine hid her heart, and de.

A

licious first love nestled

deep in her nat-

and thrilled in every secret vein and fiber. Alas the time came that this loving but proud spirit thanked Heaven she had never proclaimed the depth of her attachment for Camille Dujardin. They had parted two years, and he had joined the army of the Pyrenees about one month, when suddenlj^ all correspondure,

!

ence ceased on his part. Restless anxiety rose into terror as this silence continued ; and starting and trembling at every sound, and edging to the window at every footstep, Josephine expected hourly the tidings of her lover's death.

Months rolled on in silence. Then a new torture came. Since he was not dead he must be unfaithful. At this all the pride of her race was fired in her.

The struggle between love and almost too

much

ire

was

for nature.

Violently gay and moody hy turns, she alarmed both her mother and the good Doctor St. Aubin. The latter was not, I think, quite without suspicion of the truth however, he simply prescribed change of air and place. She must go to Frejus, a watering-place distant about five leagues. Mademoiselle de Beaure;

paire yielded a languid assent.

To her

places were alike. That same night, after all

all

had retired came a low, gentle tap at her the next moment Laure came into

to rest,

door the room, and, without saying a word, put down her candle and glided up to Josephine, looked her in the face a moment, then wreathed her arms round her neck. she saw Josephine panted a little the gestures something was coming and looks of sisters are volumes to them. Laure clung to her neck. ''What is the matter, ray child ?" '* I am not a child there is your mis;

:

;

!

M}^ sister, why is it -^ou love me no longer ? " "I love you no longer?" " No do not hide our heart from her we love ; we do not try to hide it take.

!

We

:

;

WHITE from her who loves us. We know the attempt would be in vain." but she Josephine panted heavilj'answered doggedly '' Our house is burdened with real griefs is it for me to intrude vain and unworthy sentiments upon our sacred and honorable sorrows ? Oh, my sister, if you have really detected my folly, do not expose me but rather help me to conceal and to conquer that for which your elder now blushes before you " And the proud beauty bowed her white forehead on the mantel-piece, and turned genWj away from her sister. " Josephine," said Laure, " I am young", ;

;

!

!

but already I light

that

feel

all

compared with those

troubles are of the heart.

we share our misfortunes and our bereavement, and comfort one another. It is only you who are a miser, and grudge me vay right a share of all your joys and all your griefs but do you know that you are the only one in this chateau who does not love me?" *' Ah, Laure, what words are these ? my love is older than yours." Besides,



;

"No! no!" "Yes, my little fawn, j^our Josephine loved you the hour you were born, and has loved you ever since, without a moment's coldness." " Ah

!


sister

!



m3'- sister

know it. Then 3^ou " face to me? "See!" " And embrace me ? " "There!"

did not

"And to heart

"I

!

As

if

I

your

will turn

now, bosom to bosom, and heart " tell me all ?

—to-morrow."

"At least give me your tears; you see 1 am not niggardly in that respect."



"Tears, love ah! would I could !" " By-and-by, then meantime do not palpitate* so. See, I unclasp my arms. You will find me a reasonable person, indulgent even compose yourself or, ;

;

;

rather,

watch

interested, in

my

;

you are

them."

" It appears to "

sleep here

proceedings

me

that you propose to

!

" Does that vex you

?

"

" On the contrar3\" " There I am " cried Laure, alighting among the sheets like a snow-flake on water. " I await you, mademoiselle." !

Josephine found this lovely face wet, yet smiling saucily, upon her pillow. She drew the fair owner softly to her tender bosom and aching heart, and watched the bright eyes close, and the coral lips part and show their pearls in childlike sleep.

In the morning Laure, half awake, felt something sweep her cheek. She kept her eyes closed, and Josephine, believing her still asleep, fell to kissing her, but only as the south wind kisses the violets, and embraced her tenderly but furtively, like a feather curling round a lovely head, caressing, yet scarce touching, and murmuring, " Little angel !" sighed gratitude and affection over her; but took great care not to wake her with all this. The little angel, who was also a little fox, lay still and feigned sleep, for she felt she was creeping into her sister's heart of hearts. From that day they were confidantes and friends, as well as sisters, and never had a thought or feeling unshared. Josephine soon found she had very few facts to reveal.

Laure had watched her closeh^ and keenly for months. It was her feelings, her confidence, the little love wanted not her secret that lay bare already to the shrewd young minx I beg her pardon





—lynx.

;

will

LIES.

" Give sorrow words. The grief tliat does not speak Whispers the o'erfraught heart, and bids it break." ,

A deep observer

proclaimed this three

hundred years ago, and every journal that is printed nowada3^s furnishes the examples.

From

this

maddening

silent,

sorrow,

moody, gnawing, Laure saved her

sister. She coaxed her to vent each feeling as it rose her grief, her doubt, her mortification, her indignation, her pride, and the terrible love that at times overpowered all. Thus much was gained. These power-

elder

;

"

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

10

antagonists were no longer cooped up her bosom battling together and tearin ing her. They returned from Frejus Josephine with a delicate rose-tint instead of the pallor that had alarmed St. Aubin. Her gentle penmood fluctuated no more. siveness settled upon her. She looked the goddess Patience. She was inconceivably lovely. Laure said to her one day, after a long gaze at her " I fear I shall never hate that madman Certainly when I think of as I ought. his conduct, I could strike him in the face." Here she clinched her teeth, and made her hand into a sort of irregular little snowball. " But when I look at you I cannot hate, I can but pity that imbecile

"Forgive her? for sighing? then, very tyrannical."

—that—"

" No he lives. But he is dead to us and France. Oh, Josephine, have you courage? " " I have," faltered Josephine, quivering from head to foot. " You know Dard, who works about here for love of Jacintha? For months past I have set him to speak to every soldier who passes through the vil-

ful

:

A

'^'Oh,

sister,"

said Josephine, im-



sakes, not his," added she, hastily,

not looking Laure in the face.

"No!

forgive

my

vivacity.

I

was go-

ing to tell you I feel more pity than anger for him. Does he mean to turn monk, and forswear the sex ? If not, what does he intend to do? Where can he hope to find any one he can love after you ? Josephine, the more I see of our sex, the more I see that you are the most beautiful woman in France, and b}^ consequence in

Europe."

The smile

this

drew was a very

faint

one.

"Were

this so,

surely I could have

retained a single heart." " You have then forgotten

Fontaine

?

am,

One day Laure came into the room where the baroness. Doctor St. Aubin, and Josephine were sitting. She sat down unobserved. But Josephine, looking up a minute after, saw at a glance that something had happened. Laure, she saw, under a forced calmness, was in great emotion and anxiety. Their ej^es met. Laure

made her a

scarce

perceptible signal,

and immediately after got up and left the room. Josephine waited a few seconds; then she rose and went out, and found Laure passage, as she expected.

in the

My poor sister, have you courage "He is dead " gasped Josephine. "

?

"

!

!

my

ploringly, "let us not degrade one we have honored with our esteem for our

own

I

lage."

" Ah you never told me." " Had you known my plan, you would have been forever on the qui vive ; and your tranquillit}^ was dear t\> me. It !

step to happiness. Hundreds of soldiers haVb passed, and none

was the

them knew him even by name. Toda3% Josephine, two have come that know of

all

!

" All

your La

"

first

"He

Oh, Laure, Laure

!

is

disloyal to his country.

"It

" Does he not sing how a dunghill cock found a pearl necklace, and disdained it. And why? Not that pearls are worth but because he less than barley-corns was a sordid bird, and your predecessors were wasted on him, my Josephine. So I pitj'' that dragoon who might have reveled in the love of an angel, and has rejected it, and lost it forever. There, I have made her sigh." '* Forgive me." ;

is

"The speak to

"I

What

" a traitor to you false!" men are here. Come, will you them? "

wonder he

"Explam."

" !

is

cannot.

!

But

I

will

come;

you

hear." They found in the kitchen two dis-

speak

:

I shall

mounted dragoons before whom Jacintha had set a bottle of wine. They arose and saluted the ladies. "Be seated, m^'- brave men," said Laure, " and tell me what you told Dard about Captain Dujardin."

— WHITE "Don't stain your mouth with the capmy little lady. He is a traitor " " How do you know ? "

tain,

!

" Marcellus Mademoiselle asks us how we know Captain Dujardin to be a traitor. !

Speak!" Marcellus, thus appealed to, told Laure, after his own fashion, that he knew the

that one day the captain captain well rode out of the camp, and never returned that at first great anxiety was felt on his behalf, for the captain was a great favorite, and passed for the smartest soldier in the division that after a while anxiety g-ave place to some very awkward suspicions, and these suspicions it was his lot and his comrade's here to confirm. About a month later he and the said comrade and two more had been sent, well mounted, to reconnoiter a Spanish village. At the door of a little inn they had caug-ht sight of a French uniform. This so excited their curiosity tliat he went forward nearer than prudent, and distinctly recognized Captain Dujardin seated at a table drinking, between two guerillas that he rode back and told the others, who then rode up and satisfied themselves it was so that if any of the party had entertained a doubt, it was removed in an unpleasant way. He, Marcellus, disgusted at the sight of a French uniform ddnking among Spaniards, took down his carabine and fired at the group as carefully as a somewhat restive horse permitted, at which, as if by magic, a score or so of guerillas poured out from Heaven knows where, musket in hand, and delivered a volle,y ; the officer in command of the party fell dead, Jean Jacques got a broken arm, and his own horse was ;

;

LIES.

11

Meantime," concluded glasses,

he,

filling

both

us drink to the

eyes of beauty (military salute), and to the renown of France and double damnation to all her traitors, like that Captain Dujardin whose neck may the Devil twist." In the middle of this toast Josephine, who had stood rooted to one place with eyes glaring upon each speaker in turn, uttered a* feeble cry like a dying hare, and crept slowly out of the room with the carriage and manner of a woman of **let





fifty.

;

;

;

two places, and fell from loss few furlongs from the French camp, to the neighborhood of which the vagabonds pursued them hallooing and shouting and firing like barbarous banditti as they were. "However, here I am," concluded Mar-

wounded

in

of blood a

who was naturally more interested himself than in Captain Dujardin, "invalided for a while, my little ladies, but not 'expended yet we will soon dash in cellus, in

;

among them again

for death or glory!

Laure's first impulse was to follow Josephine, but this would have attracted attention to her despair. She had the tact and resolution to remain and say a few kind words to the soldiers, and then she retired and darted up by instinct to Josephine's bedroom. The door was locked.

"Josephine No answer.

!

Josephine

" !

"I want

to speak to you. I am frightdo not be alone " A choking voice answered " I am not alone— I am with God and the saints. Give me a little while to

ened

— oh

draw

my

!

!

breath."

Laure sank down at the door, and sat close to it, with her head against it, sobbing bitterly. The sensitive little love was hurt at not being let in, such a friend ns she had proved herself. But this personal feeling was but a small fraction of her grief and anxiet3^

A

good half-hour had elapsed when Josephine, pale and stern as no one had ever seen her till that hour, suddenly opened the door. She started at sight of Laure couched sorrowful on the threshhold her stern look relaxed into tender love and pity; she sank on her knees and took her sister's head quickly to her ;

bosom. " Oh

my

!

heart " cried she, "have you been here all this time?" little

"Oh! oh! oh!" was all the little heart could reply. Then Josephine sat down, and took Laure in her lap, and caressed and comforted her, and poured words of grati<

!

!

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

12

tude and affection over her like a warm shower. The sisters rose hand in hand. Then Laure suddenly seized Josephine, and looked long- and anxiously down into her eyes. They flashed fire under the ,

scrutiny.

"Yes," she replied, *'it is ended. I could not despise and love. I am dead to him, as he is dead to France." *' Ah I hoped so I though't so ; but you frightened me. My noble sister, were I ever to lose your esteem I should Oh, how awful yet how beautiful is die. your scorn For worlds I Avould not be



!

!



" that Cam Josephine laid her hand imperiously on Laure's mouth. *' To mention that man's name to me De Beaurepaire I will b& to insult me Frenchwoman Come, love, and a am, let us go down and comfort our mother." They went down and this patient sufferer and hig-h- minded conqueror of her own accord took up a commonplace work, and read aloud for two mortal hours to her mother and St. Aubin. Her voice never wavered. To feel that life is ended to wish existence, too, had ceased; and so to sit down, an aching hollow, and take a part and !

!

;



sham an

interest in

twaddle to please

—such

are woman's feats. How like nothing at all they look man would rather sit on the buffer of a steam-engine and ride at the great others

A

Redan. Laure sat at her elbow, a little behind her, and turned the leaves, and on one pretense or other held Josephine's hand nearly all the rest of the day. Its delicate fibers remained tense like a greyhound's sinews after a race, and the blue veins rose to sight in it, though her voice

and eyes were mastered. So keen was the strife, so matched the antagonists, so hard the victory For ire and scorn are mighty.

And

noble blood in a noble heart

hero.

And Love

is

a Giant.

is

a

CHAPTER II. About this time, the French provinces were organized upon a half-military plan by which all the local authorities radiated toward a center of government. This feature has survived subsequent revolutions and political changes. In daj's of change, youth is always at a premium; because, though experience is valuable, the experience of one order of things unfits ordinary men for another order of things. A good many old fogies in ofiB.ce were shown to the door, and a good deal of youth and energy infused into the veins of provincial government. For instance. Citizen Edouard Riviere, who had just completed his education with singular eclat at a military school, was one fine day ordered into Brittany to fill a responsible post under the Commandant Raynal. Nervousness in a new situation generally accompanies talent. The 3'oung citizen, as he rode to present his credentials at headquarters, had his tremors as well as his pride

was a

;

the more so as his

new

rough soldier, that had risen from the ranks, and bore a much higher character for zeal and moral integrity than for affabilit3\ While the young citizen rides in his breeches and English top-boots, his white waistcoat and cravat, his abundant shirtchief

blunt,

'

frill,

his short-waisted blue coat with flat

his pig-tail, his handsome though beardless face and eager eyes, to gilt buttons,

this

important interview, settling before-

hand what he shall say, what shall be said to him, and what he shall reply^ let us briefly dispose of the commandant's previous history. He was the son of a

widow that kept a grocer's shop in Paris. She intended him for spice, but he thirsted for glory kept



running after the soldiers, and vexed her. '' Soldiering in time of peace," said she; "such nonsense it is like swimming on a carpet." War came and robbed her The boy was resolute. satire of its point. The mother yielded now she was a French woman to the backbone. In the armies of the Republic, a good



;

"

WHITE soldier rose with unparalleled certainty, soldiers are ; for when

and rapidity too being"

mowed down

like oats, it is

a

glori-

ous time for such of them as keep their feet.

Raynal rose throug-h

all

the intervening

be a commandant and one

of grades to and coloa aides-du-camp, general's the All nel's epaulets glittered in sight. this time, Raynal used to write to his mother, and joke her about the army being such a bad profession, and as he was all for glory, not money, he lived with Spartan frugality, and saved half his pay and all his prize-money for the old lady in Paris. And here, this prosperous man had to endure a great disappointment ; on the same day that he was made commandant, came a letter into the camp. His mother was dead after a short illness. This was a terrible blow to the simple, rugged soldier, who had never had much time nor inclination to flirt with a lot of girls, and toughen his heart. He came back to Paris honored and rich, but downcast. On his arrival at the old place, it seemed to him not to have the old look. It made him sadder. To cheer him up, they brbught him a lot of money. The widow's trade had taken a wonderful start the^^, last few years, and she had been plajang the same game as he had, living on tenpence a day and saving all for hira. This made him sadder. ** What have we both been scraping all this dross together for ? I would give it all to sit one hour by the fire, with her hand in mine, and hear her say, Scamp, '

'

you made me unhappy when you were young, but I have lived to be proud of you."

He found out the woman who had nursed her, flung more five-franc pieces into her lap than she had ever seen in one place before, applied for active service, no matter what, obtained at once this post in

BrittauA'-,

and went gloomily from him the reputation

Paris, leaving behind

an ungracious brute, devoid of sentiment. In fact, the one bit of sentiment in this Spartan was anything but a roof

"

LIES.

13

am not aware of romance that turns on filial affection; but it was an abiding one. Here is a proof. It was some months after he had left Paris, and, indeed, as nearly as I can remember, a couple of months after young Riviere's mantic one

any

at least, I

;

successful

interview with him, that, being in conversation with his friend Monsieur Perrin, the notary, he told him he thought he never should cease to feel first

this regret.

The notary smiled

incredulous, but said

nothing.

" We were together sure,

;

it is

fools to scrape all this

money

no use to her, and, I am none to me " permitted to advise you?" is

it

!

"Is it asked his friend, persuasively. " Speak " This very money which your elevated nature condemns may be made the means There are ladies, of healing your wound. fair and prudent, who would at once capitulate he he to jou, backed, as you are, by two or three hundred thousand francs. One of these, by her 3'outh and affection, would in time supply the place of her your devotion to whose memory does you so much credit. That sum would also enable you to become the possessor of an estate a most advisable invest!



!

!





ment, since estates are just now unreasonably depressed in value. Its wood and water would soothe your eye, and relieve your sorrow by the sight of your wealth in an enjoyable form " Halt say that again in half the words " roared the commandant, !

!

!

roughly.

The notary said it "You can buy a

short.

estate and a chaste wife with the money," snapped this smooth personage, substituting curt brutality for honeyed prolixity. {Aside) " Marriage contract so much

— commission The

much." was struck by the propothe moment they hit him in a so

soldier

sitions

condensed form, lets.

fine

like his

much-loved bul-

He

Granted half his prayer, Scornful the rest dispersed in empty

air.



"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

14

time to be running after '* But the estate I'll have, because jou can get that for me without my troubling- my head." "Is it a commission, then? " asked the

and bring it me day." " It shall be

other, sharply.

of compasses,

"Have women ? "

I

said he.

Where

are

my

in

person next Satur-

done, commandant. quarters to be ? "

The commandant handed him a pair and pointed to a map on which Riviere's district was marked in

" Parhleu ! Do you think I speak for " blue ink. the sake of talking? " Find the center of your district." No man had ever a larger assortment " This point is the center, commandof tools than Bonaparte, or knew better what each could do and could not do. ant." " Then quarter yourself on that point. Raynal was a perfect soldier as far as he went, and therefore was valued highly. Good-day, citizen." This was the young official's first introBonaparte had formed him, too ; and we duction to the chic Bonaparte. He rather are not averse to our own work. Raynal, though not fit to command a admired it. "This is a character," said he; "but division, had the chic Bonaparte visibly \)j St. Denis I should not like to commit stamped on him by that master-hand. For a man of genius spits men of tal- a blunder under his eye." Edouard Riviere had zeal, and he soon ent by the score. Each of these adopts that his superior, with all his found one or other of his many great qualities, brusquerie, was a great appreciator of and builds himself on it. I see the mareHis instructions, too, were quality. that chals of the empire are beginning to brag, precise. Riviere lost his misand clear now everybody else is dead. Well, dis. very few in a days, and became givings sect all those marechals, men of talent, the with sense of his authority inflated ever}'' one of them, and combine their and the flattery and obsequimerit, and add leading excellences in one figure, and that soon wait on the former. ousness Total a Napoleonetto* them up The commandant's compasses had " Who is that ? I am busy writing." "Monsieur the Commandant, I am the pointed to the village near Beaurepaire citizen Riviere, I am come to present my- as his future abode. The chateau was in sight from his self to 3^ou, and to apartments, and, on inquiry, h* was told " I know come for orders." belonged to a Roj^alist family a it "Exactly, commandant." " Humph Here is a report just sent widow and two daughters, who held quite aloof from the rest of in by young Nicole, who fills the same themselves sort of post as you, only to the north- the world. "Ah " said the young citizen, who had ward. Take this pen and analyze his all the new ideas, and had been sneering report, while I write these letters." years at the old regime, " I see. If four "Yes, commandant." rococo citizens plaj'' that game with these "Write out the heads of your analysis. shall have to take them down." me, I Good it is well done. Now Thus a fresh peril hung over this famtake your heads home and act under hearts and fortunes such whose on ily, them and frame your report by them, :







!

!

....

:

;

heavy blows had * I mean, of course, as far as soldiering- goes

;

history.

after a

of the country,

:

day spent

in the service deigned to take a little stroll to relieve the cares of administraHe accordingly imprinted on his tion. beardless face the expression of a wearied statesman, and in that guise strolled through an admiring village. officer,

but soldiering was only a part of the man, a brilliant part which has blinded some people as to the proportions of this colossal figure. He was a profound, though, from necessity, not a liberal statesman, a great civil engineer, a marvelous orator in the boudoir and the field, a sound and original critic in all the arts, and the greatest legislator of

modern

fallen.

One evening, our young Republican

WHITE The men pretended veneration from policy.

The women, whose views

of this great shallower but more sincere, smiled approval. The young- puppy affected to take no

man were

notice of either sex.

Outside the villag-e, Publicola suddenly encountered two young* ladies, who resembled nothing he had hitherto met with They were dressed in in his district. black, and with extreme simplicity; but their easy grace and composure, and the refined sentiment of their gentle faces, told at a glance they belonged to the high nobility. Publicola, though he had never seen them, divined them at once by their dress and mien, and, as he drew near, he involuntarily raised his hat to so

much beauty and

just poking lique.

On

tesied to

it

dignity, instead of

with a finger a la Repuh-

this, the ladies instantly cour-

him

after the

manner

of their

with a sweep and a majesty, and a precision of politeness that the pup would have laughed at if he had heard of but seeing it done, and well done, and it by lovely women of high rank, he wa» taken aback by it, and lifted his hat again, and bowed again after he had gone by, which was absurd and was generally flustered. In short, instead of a member of the Republican government saluting private individuals of a decayed part}", that existed only by sufferance, a handsome, vain, good-natured boy had part}",

;



met two J

self-possessed

young

ladies of

high rank and breeding, and had cut the figure usual upon such occasions. For the next hundred yards his cheeks burned and his vanity was cooled. But bumptiousness is elastic in France as in England and

among

the Esqui-

maux. "Well, they are pretty girls," says he to himself. " I never saw two such pretty



they will do for me to flirt with while I am banished to this Arcadia." (Banished from school !) And "awful beauty "being no longer in sight, Mr. Edouard resolved he would flirt with them to their hearts' content. But there are ladies with whom a cergirls together

LIES.

15

tain preliminary

is

required before you

can flirt with them. You must be on speaking terms with them first. How was this to be managed ? " Oh, it would come somehow or other always meeting them; and if he was really a man that is harassed and worked as I

am

requires

some agreeable

recrea-

tion of this sort."

" Etc." used to watch at his window with a telescope, and whenever the sisters came out of their own grounds, which unfortunately was not above three times a week, he would throw himself in their way by the merest accident, and pay them a dignified and courteous salute, which he had carefully got up before a mirror in the privacy of his own chamber. In return he received two reverences that were to say the least as dignified and courteous as his own, though they had not had the advantage of a special

He

rehearsal.

So far so good. But a little circumstance cooled our Adonis's hopes of turning a bowing acquaintance into a speaking one, and a speaking into a flirting. There was a flaw at the foundation of this pyramid of agreeable sequences. Studying the faces of these courteous beauties, he became certain that no recognition of his charming person mingled with their repeated acts of politeness. Some one of their humbler neighbors had the grace to sajute them with the respect due to them this was no uncommon occurrence to them even now. When it did happen, they made the proper return. They were of too high rank and breeding to be outdone in :

politeness.

But that the same person met them whenever they came out, and that he was handsome and interesting no consciousness of this phenomenon beamed in those charming countenances. Citizen Riviere was first piqued and then began to laugh at his want of courage, and on a certain day when his im-



portance was vividly present to him he took a new step toward making this agreeable acquaintance he marched up :



— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

16

to the Chateau de Beaurepaire and called on the baroness of that ilk.

He

sent up his

name and

with due with returned Jacintha a note

pomp.

office

black-edg-ed

^'Highly flattered by Monsieur de Riviere's visit, the baroness informed him that she received none but old acquaintances in the present grief of the family and of the kingdom.^'

Young

Riviere

this rebuff.

was cruellj^

He went

mortified

off hurriedly,

by

grind-

teeth with rage. " Cursed aristocrats Ah we have done well to pull j^ou down, and we How I despise will have you lower still. myself for giving any one the chance to

ing- his

!

!

me thus The haughty old fool known her interest, she would had if she have been too glad to make a powerful These Royalists are in a ticklish friend. position I can tell her that. But stay affront

!

!

:

she calls

know who young

me De Riviere. She does not I am then Takes me for some !

Well then after all but no that makes it worse. She implies that nobody without a 'De' to their name would have the presumption to visit her old tumble-down house. Well, it is a lesson I am a Republican, and the Commonwealth trusts and honors me; yet I am so ungrateful as to go out of aristocrat

!

!

!



the way to be civil to her enemies to Royalists ; as if thoije worn-out creatures had hearts as if the.y could comprehend the struggle that took place in mj'- mind between duty and generositj'' to the fallen, before I could make the first overture to their acquaintance as if they could understand the politeness of the heart, or anything nobler than curving and ducking and heartless etiquette. This is the last notice I will ever take of that family, " that 5'ou may take your oath of ] town ver3'' fast, home to the He walked his heart boiling and his lips compressed,





!

and

his

brow

!

!

knitted.

Just outside the town he met Josephine and Laure de Beaurepaire. At the sight of their sweet faces his moody brow cleared a little, and he was

surprised into saluting them as usual, only more stiffly, when lo from one of the ladies there broke a smile so sudden, so sweet, and so vivid, that he felt it hit him on the eyes and on the heart. His teeth unclinched themselves, his resolve dissolved, and another came in its place. Nothing should prevent him from penetrating into that fortified castle, which contained at least one sweet creature who had recognized him, and given him a smile brimful of sunshine. That night he hardly slept at all, and woke very nearly if not quite in love„ Such was the power of a smile. Yet this young gentleman had seen many smilers, but to be sure most of them smiled without effect, because they smiled eternally ; they seemed cast with their mouths open, and their pretty teeth forever in sight, which has a saddening influence on a man of sense when it has any. But here a pensive face had brightened at sight of him ; a lovely countenance on which circumstances, not Nature, had impressed gravity, had sprung back to its natural gayety for a moment, and for him. Difficulties spur us whenever they do not check us. My lord sat at his window with his book and telescope for hours every day. Alas mesdemoiselles did not leave the premises for three daj^s. But on the fourth industry was rewarded; he met them, and smiling him!



!

by anticipation, it was his fate to draw from the lady a more exquisite self

smile than the last. Smile the second made his heart beat so he could feel it against his waistcoat. Beauty is power ; a smile is its sword. These two charming thrusts subdued if they did not destroy'- Publicola's wrath against the baroness, and his heart was passing glimpse now all on a glow. two or three times a week no longer

A

satisfied its yearning.

fellow called Dai'd

There was a

who went

little

out shooting

with him in the capacity of a beater— this young man seemed to know a great deal about the family. He told him that



!

WHITE the ladies of Beaurepaire went to Mass every Sunday at a little church two miles off. The baroness used to go too, but now they have no carriage she staj'^s at home. She won't go to church or anywhere else now she can't drive up and have a blazing* lackey to hand her out '* Aristo t;a." demonstration of this Riviere smiled at bile. plebeian



Next Sunday saw him a

political rene-

gade. He failed in a prime article of Republican faith. He went to church. The Republic had given up going to church the male part of it in particular. Citizen Riviere attended church and He smarted there worshiped Cupid. for this. The young ladies went with higher motives, and took no notice of They lowered their long silken him. lashes over one breviary, and scarcely observed the handsome citizen. Meantime he, contemplating their pious beauty with earthly eyes, was drinking long draughts of intoxicating passion. And when after the service they each took an arm of St. Aubin, and he, with the air of an admiral convoying two ships choke-full of specie, conducted his precious charge away home, our young citizen felt jealous, and all but hated the :

'



worthy doctor. One day Riviere was out accompanied by Dard.

LIES.

17

" The more ungenerous would

it

be of

us to take advantage."

"

Citizen, I tell

you everybody shoots

over Beaurepaire." *' Oh, if ever^^body does it In short Dard prevailed.



man

A

small prove to a of one-and-twenty that it is moral to

amount

of logic sufllces to

follow his birds.

Our hero had

his misgivings

;

but the

game was abundant, and tamer than elsewhere. In for a penny in for a pound. The next time they went out together, I blush

began with this very field of killed two brace in it. It was about four o'clock of this day when the sportsman and his assistant emerged from the fields upon the highroad between Beaurepaire and the village, and made toward the latter. They had to pass Bigot's auherge, a long low house all across which from end to end was printed in gigantic to say he

and

clover,

letters

"

:

ICI

ON LOGE A PIED ET A CHEVAL." *

" Here one lodges on foot and horseback."

Opposite this Dard halted and looked

and laid hand pathetically on his center. " What is the matter ? Are you ill ? "

wistfully in his superior's face, his

shooting,

A

covey of partridges got up wild, and went out of bounds into a field of late clover.

"Very

"The

shouted litDard, ''at present we are going to massacre them." "But that is not my ground." " No matter ; it belongs to Beaure''It is well done, citizen,"

paire."

smell

;

citizen."

ill,

"What vulgar

tle

" The

"

it?"

is

soldier's

gripes,"

replied

this

party " and, citizen, only the soup is just coming off the little

;

fire."

This

Dard

little

resembled

(in

one

handed down to us \)\ the immortal bard, and by the painters of his day particular) Cardinal Wolsey, as

:

last people I should like to take

a liberty with." " You must not be so nice ; the3'- have no gamekeeper now to interfere with us they can't afford one. Aha aristocrats The times are changed since your pigeons used to devastate us, and we durst not shoot one of the marauders the very pheasants are at our mercy now." ;

!

"

man

of

an unbounded stomach."

He had gone two feeding

time,

and

hours past his usual was in pain and

affliction.

Riviere laughed and consented. " will have it in the porch," said he. The consent was no sooner out of his

We

*

(B)

a

!



Aristocrat go to

He was

What

a row the latter customers must

going up to bed

I

make

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

18

mouth than Dard dashed

wildly into the

Riviere himself was not sorry of an excuse to linger an hour in a place where the ladies of Beaurepaire might perhaps pass and see him in a new costume his shooting- cap and jacket, adorned with all the paraphernalia of the sport, which in France are got up with an eye to ornament as well as use. The soup was brought out, and for several minutes Dard's feelings were too great for utterance. But Riviere did not take after the great



cardinal, especially since he

had

fallen in

love. He soon dispatched a frugal meal then went in and got some scraps for the dog, and then began to lay the game out and count it. He emptied his own pocket and Dard's game-bag, and altogether it made a good show. The small citizen was now in a fit state

then she imposes upon me.'* now I do not quite understand. Explain, Dard, and assure yourself of my sympath}^" (puff). Thus encouraged, Dard became loquacious.

"Those Beaurepaire

'*A good day's work,

citizen,"

said

till he from a rotundity to an oval **and most of it killed on the lands of

he, stretching himself luxuriously,

turned



Beaurepaire all the better." " You appear not to love that family,

Dard."

aristocrats," said

he, with his

hard peasant good sense, "are neither one thing nor the other. They cannot keep up nobility, they have

not the means

— they will not

come down

perch, they have not the sense. No, for as small as they are, they must off their

look and talk as big as ever. They can only afford one servant, and I don't be-

they pay her, but they must be attended on just as obsequious as when they had a dozen. And this is fatal to all us little people that have the misfortune to be connected with them." "Why, how are you connected with lieve

them?" "

to articulate.

By

the tie of affection."

" I thought you hated them." "Clearly; but I have the ill luck to love Jacintha, and she loves these aristocrats, and makes me do little odd jobs for them " and here Dard's eye suddenly ;

glared with horror. " Well what of it ? " " What of it, citizen, what ? you do not know the fatal meaning of those accursed words ? " " Why, it is not an obscure phrase. I never heard of a man's back being broken !

"Your

penetration is not' at fault, citiI do not love that family," was the

stern reply.

Edouard, for a reason before hinted at, in no hurry to leave the place, and the present seemed a good opportunity for pumping Dard. He sent therefore for two pipes one he pretended to smoke, the other he gave Dard for this shrewd young personage had observed that th«se rustics, under the benign influence of tobacco, were placidly reckless in their

was

;

;

revelations.

the by, Dard (puff), why did you " that family ? "Because ^because I can't help it; it I hate them, is stronger than I am. aristo va ! " (puff.) why why ?—why ? "

"By

saj' j^ou dislike





?—

"But

"Ah

And

" Even

kitchen.

zen.

"



good, you demand why ? (puff). Well, then, because they impose upon Jacintha." !

"Oh!"

by little odd jobs." " Perhaps not his back,

citizen, but his odd jobs will not break that, why, nothing will. Torn from place to place, and from trouble to trouble as soon as one tiresome thing begins to go a bit smooth, off to a fresh plague— a new handicraft to torment your head and your in-doors work fingers over ever3'- day

heart?

if

little

;

;

when

—and

it is

dry, out a-doors

when

it

snows

bustle— no taking one's work quietly, the onl^'^ way it agrees with Milk the cow, no repose. a fellow Dard, but look sharp for the baroness's chair wants mending take these slops to the pig, but you must not wait to see him enjoy them ; you are wanted to chop take Beat the mats billets for me.' then

all

'

:

;





— WHITE



down the curtains walk to church (best part of a league) and heat the pew cushions come back and cut the cabbages, paint the door, and wheel the old lady about the terrace, rub quicksilver on the little dog's back ; mind he don't bite you to make himself sick repair the ottoman, roll the gravel, clean the kettles, carry half a ton of water up three pair of stairs, trim the turf, prune the vine, drag the fish-pond, and when j^ou are there, go in



!

and gather

Mademoiselle

water-lilies for

Josephine while you are drowning the puppies that is little odd jobs. May Satan twist her neck who invented them " ;

!

**Very sad all this," said young Ri" but viere, as gravely as he could about the family." ;

"I am

citizen.

When

I

go

into their

kitchen to court Jacintha a bit, instead of finding a good supper there, which a man has a right to, courting a cook, if I don't take one in my pocket, there is no supper, not to say supper, for either her or me. I don't call a salad and a bit of cheese rind supper Beggars in silk



!

and satin I call them. Every sou they have goes on to their backs, instead of into their bellies."

their income, that ancient family." it all, and sit here. Inwould not change incomes with they'd throw me in a pancake a

could eat

*'I !

if

I

day. I tell you, citizen, they are the poorest family for leagues round not that they need be quite so poor, if the}'" could swallow a little of their pride. But ;

no, they

must have

fine linen, at

dinner

china, ;

and

plate,

and

so their fine plates

are always bare, and their silver trays empty. Ask the butcher, if j'-ou don't

me ! You ask him whether

believe

he does not go three times to the smallest shop-keeper, for once he goes to Beaurepaire. Their tenants send them a little meal and eggs, and now and then a hen, because the.^ must their great garden is chock-full of fruit and vegetables, and Jacintha makes me dig in it gratis and so they *'

19

muddle on. And then the baroness must have her coffee as in the days of old, and they can't afford to buy it so they roast



—haw

haw

!

— they roast

a lot of horse nothing, and grind serve up the liquor in a !

beans them,

and

silver

cafe-tiere,

that

cost

on

Aristo va." "Is it possible? oh "

a silver

— reduced

salver.

to this!

!

Perdition seize them why don't they melt their silver into soup why don't they sell the supwfluous and buy the grub ? and I can't see why they don't let their house and that accursed garden, in which I sweat gratis, and live in a small house, and be content with as many servants as they can pay wages to." '

'

!



"Dard,"

"I

tell you Laure doing it

fast

A

;

I

thoughtfully,

Riviere,

said

interrupting him, "is the beans ? "

it

really true about

have seen Mademoiselle

woman's breakwas Laure invented the move.

it

for the old

girl of nineteen

deceive the world.

beginning already to

But they are all tarred

with the same stick. Aristo ''Dard, you are a brute " ''Me, citizen ? "

va.''

!

" You there is noble povertj^-, as well as noble wealth. I might have disdained these people in their prosperity, but I revere them in their affliction." "I consent," replied Dard, very coolly. !

" Nonsense, Dard. I know your capacitj^ but you could not eat a hole in

come them

LIES.

;



"That is your affair; but permit me," and here he|^]inched his teeth at remembrance of his wrongs, "on mj'' own part to say that I will no more be a sculleryman without wages to these high-minded starvelings, these

illustrious

Then he heated himself red

beggars."

"I

hot.

will

not even be their galley-slave. ISText, I have done my last little odd job in this world," yelled the now infuriated factotum. " All is ended. Of two things one either Jacintha quits those aristos, or Eh ? ah oh I leave Jacin ahem How 'ow d'ye do, Jacintha ? " and his









!



!



!

roar ended in a whine, as when a dog runs barking out and receives in full career a cut from his master's whip, and his generous rage turns to whimper then and there. " I was just talking of



:

WORKS OF CHARLES BEADE.

20

you, Jacintha/' faltered Dard, in conclusion.

" I heard you, Dard," replied Jacintha, slowly, quietly, grimly.

Dard

from

shrank

oval

back

to

round. the door of the porch reduced the Dard to his natural limits, moral and corporeal, was a strapping- youngwoman, with a comely peasant face, somewhat freckled, and a pair of large at

swelling"

surmounted by coal-black brows that inclined to meet upon the bridge of the nose. She stood in a bold attitude, her massive but well - formed eyes,

folded so that the pressure of each against the other made them seem gigantic, and her cheek pale with wrath, and her eyes glittering like basilisks' upon Had petulance mingled Dard. citizen with her wrath. Riviere would have howled with laughter at Dard's discomfiture, and its cause ; but a handsome woman, boiling with suppressed ire, has a touch of the terrible, and Jacintha's black eyes and lowering black

arms

brows gave

moment

her, in this

of lofty

indignation, a grander look than belonged to her. So even Riviere put down his

pipe and gazed up in her face with a shade of misgiving.

She now slowlj^ unclasped her arms, and, with her great e^'^e immovabl}^ fixed on Dard, she pointed with a commanding gesture

Beaurepa^e.

toward

Citizen

Dard was no longer master of his own limbs he was even as a bird fascinated by a rattlesnake he rose slowly, with his eyes fastened to hers, and was mov;

;

ing

"Dard," retorted Jacintha, "if you don't like your place, you can quit it. I know two or three that will be glad to take it. There, say no more now I am here I will go back to the village, and we shall see whether all the lads recoil from a few little jobs to be done by my side, and paid by m^'^ friendship." "No! no! Jacintha; don't be a fool! I am going ; there, I am at jomt service, ;

The person whose sudden appearance

black

with a rod of iron. Thank your stars, citizen, that you are not in my place."

off like

an

ill-oiled

automaton

in the

but at this a suppressed snigger began to shake Riviere's direction indicated

;

whole bod3^ till it bobbed up and down on the seat. That weakened the spell

Dard turned ''There,

to

him

citizen,"

ruefully.

he

cried,

''do you

imperious gesture ? Now I'll that means tell you what that means 5'ou promised to dig in the aristocrat's Here, garden this afternoon so march then, is one that has gained nothing by kings being put down, for I am ruled see that





!

my dear friend. Come

" !

" Go, then you know w^hat to do.'.' " And leave you here ? " '*Yes," said Jacintha. "I must speak a word to monsieur you have rendered ;



necessary." The subjugated one crept to Beaurepaire, but often looked behind him. He did not relish leaving Jacintha with the handsome 3^oung citizen, especially after her hint that there were better men in the district than himself. Jacintha turned to young Riviere, and spoke to him in a very different tone coldly, but politely. "Monsieur will think me very hardy thus to address a stranger, but I ought not to allow monsieur to be deceived, and those I serve belied." " There needs no excuse, female citizen. I am at j^our service ; be seated." "Many thanks, monsieur; but I will not sit down, for I am going immediately." " All the worse, female citizen. But I saj'', it seems to me then you heard what Dard was saying to me. What, did you " fie

it

listen

?

Oh,

!

"No, monsieur,

I did not listen," rehaughtily. "I am innecessity. was ; there no capable of it Dard bawled so loud the whole village might hear. I was passing, and heard a voice I knew raised so high, I feared he was drunk ;' I came therefore to the side of the porch with the best intentions. Arrived there, words struck my ear that made me pause. I was so transfixed I plied Jacintha,



6ould not move. Thus, quite in spite of myself, I suffered the pain of hearing his calumnies you see, monsieur, that I did ;

not play the spy on you

;

moreover, that

"

WHITE character would nowise suit with my natural disposition. I heard too your answer, which does you so much credit, and I instantly resolved that you should

not he imposed upon." ** Thank you, female citizen." ''Neither the family I serve, nor myself, are reduced to what that little fool described. I ought not to laugh, I ought to he angry but after all it was only Dard, and Dard is a notorious fool. There, monsieur," continued she, graciously, " I will be candid, I will tell you It is perfectly true that the baron all. contracted debts, and that the baroness, out of love for her children, is paying them off as fast as possible, that the estate may be clear before she dies. It is also true that these heavy debts cannot be paid off without great economy. But Prudence is not povlet us distinguish. erty rather, my young monsieur, it is the thorny road to wealth." " That is neatly expressed, female " ;

;

citizen

!

"Would monsieur

my name, to

me and

object to call

since that of citizen

to

most women

?

is

me by

-odious

"

" Certainly not. Mademoiselle Jacintha, even take a pleasure in it, since it will seem to imply that we are making a I shall

nearer acquaintance, mademoiselle." "Not mademoiselle, any more than I am neither demoiselle, nor citizen. dame, but plain Jacintha." "No no no not plain Jacintha Do you think I have no eyes then, pretty Jacintha ? " "Monsieur, a truce to compliments! Let us resume " " Be sea^d, then, pretty Jacintha " " It is useless, monsieur, since I am going immediately. I will be very candid with you. It is about Dard having no supper up at Beaurepaire. This is true. You see I am candid, and conceal nothing. I will even own to you that the baroness, my mistress, would be very angry if she knew supper was not provided for Dard in a word I am the culAnd I am in the right. Listen. prit. Dard is egoist. You may even, perhaps, have yourself observed this trait." !

!

!

!

!

!

;

!

LIES.

21

" Glimpses

of

it

— ha

!

ha

!

ha



!

— he

ho!" Monsieur, he is egoist to that degree that he has not a friend in the world, but me. I forgive him, because I know the reason he has never had a headache or a heartache in his life." "I don't understand j^ou, Jacintha." " Monsieur, at your age there are many things a young man does not understand. But, though I make allowances for Dard, I know what is due to myself. Yes, he is so egoist, that, were I to fill that paunch of his, I should no longer know whether he came to Beaurepaire for me or for himself. Now Dard is no beauty, monsieur ; figure to yourself that he is two inches shorter than I am." " Oh, heaven he looks a foot." " He is no scholar neither, and I have had to wipe up many a sneer and many a sarcasm on his account but up to now I have always been able to reply that '•'

;

!

;

two inches of egoism loves and the moment I doubt this point I give him his conge poor little fellow Now 3'ou comprehend all, do you not ? Confess that I am reathis five feet

me

disinterestedly

;



!

sonable."

" Parhleu ! I say, I did not think your sex had been so sagacious." "You saw me on the brink of giving the poor little being his dismissal ? " "I saw and admired. Well, then, female cit ah pardon Jacintba so then the family at Beaurepaire are not in such straits as Dard pretends ? " " Monsieur, do I look like one who is starved ?" " " By Jove, no by Ceres, I mean " Are my young mistresses wan and thin and hollow-eyed ? " " Treason blasphemy ah no. By





!

!

:



!





!



Venus and Hebe no

!



!

!

Jacintha smiled at this enthusiastic and also because her sex smile when words are used they do not understand guess why denial,



!

She resumed — " When a cup overflows it cannot be empty; those have enough who have to spare; now how many times has Dard himself sent or brought a weary soldier

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

22

by Mademoiselle Laure's

to our kitchen

own orders? " "All ''And

I

!

can believe

it."

how many

times have I brought a bottle of good Medoc for them from the baroness's cellar " !

"You

I see; Dard's egoism blinded him ; they are prudent, but neither stingy nor poor. All the better. But stay the coffee the beans."

did well.

!





Jacintha colored, and seemed put out, but it was onl}'' for a moment she smiled good-humoredly enough, and put her hand in her pocket and drew out a packet. " What is that ? " ;

" Permit me

—you

would have told me what to would not have disobeyed you, for you are a treasure, and I see you love ance

do.

and excellent you have if I may judge by the perfume " just bought it in the village ? ;

it is coffee,

;

Jacintha nodded.

I

them

sincerely

it

;

is

a holy cause

;

it

would have been, I mean and we should have been united in it, Jacintha." ;

"Ah

yes

"We

as to that, yes."

!

would have concerted means to



do them kindness secretly without hurting their pride. And then I am in authority, Jacintha."

"I know

it,

monsieur.

Dard has

told

me." " In great authority for one so young.



They are Roj'alists my secret protection might have been of wonderful service to them, and I could have given it them without

disloyalt}'^ to

all, -vyhat

the state

;

for, after

has the Republic to dread from

women?" "But the beans!" Through all this, which the young fel"The beans!—the beans! Well—he have little merry low delivered not flowingly, but in a series Monsieur, we a he — !

!

angel in the house called Mademoiselle Laure. She set me one day to roast some beans the old doctor wanted them for some absurd experiment. Dard came in, and seeing something cooking, 'What are they for ? said he, ' what in Heaven's His curiosity knew name are they for ? no bounds. I was going to tell him, but To Mademoiselle Laure gave me a look. make the family'- coffee, to be sure,' says she and the fool believed it." Riviere and Jacintha had a laugh over, Dard's credulit3^ " Well, Jacintha, thank Heaven Dard and yet I am going to say a is mistaken foolish thing do you know I half regret they are not as poor, no not quite, but nearly as poor, as he described them for



'

'

'

;

!

;

;

;

cheek a faint color came and went two or three times.

"These sentiments do ^''ou honor, my pretty monsieur" (dwelling tenderly on the pretty). "And so do yours do you," cried the young man warmly. "Let us be friends, us two, who, though of different parties, understand one another. And let me tell you. Mademoiselle, the Aristocrat, that we Republicans have our virtues too." " Henceforth

I will believe this for 3^our

my child." "I am going to

sake,

tell

you one

—we can recogniie and bow we find I you, —ahem —henceforth Ja-

is

this

"What then?"

to virtue in whatever class

"

revere cintha

You

need not be angry now." no haste to "Me, monsieur? One is be angry with such a face as yours, my young monsieur." "Well, then, I should have liked them to be a little poor, that I might have had the pleasure and the honor of being useful

m

them."

"How

"

could you be of use to them ? in many w^-ys esI don't know pecially now I have made jour acquaint-

" Oh,





of .them."

" Tell me."

" It

then—"

to

of little pants, each from his heart, Jacintha's great black eye dwelt on him calm but secretly inquisitive, and on her

cit

is

to

me

it.

!

a word that stands for

and unselfish affection. These are the soul of nobilitj' titles are Such spirits as you, I say, its varnish. are the ornaments of both our sexes, of everj'^ rank, and of human nature. Therefore give me your pretty brown hand a moment, that I may pay jow a homage I would not offer to a selfish, and by consequence a vulgar duchess." loj'alty, fidelity



;

WHITE Jacintha colored a little; but put out her hand with a smile, and with a grace that seems born with French women of all classes.

Riviere held the smiling- peasant's hand his head and kissed it. little to his surprise, the moment he

and bowed

A

relaxed his hold of it, it began to close gently on his hand and hold it, and even press it a very little. He looked up, and saw a female phenomenon. The smile still lingered on her lip, but the large black eyes were troubled, and soon an enormous tear quietly rolled out of them and ran down her tanned cheek. The boy looked wistfully in her face for

an explanation. She replied to his mute inquiry by smil. ing and pressing- his hand gently, in which act another tear welled quietly up and rippled over and ran with a slant into the channel of the

first.

The inexperienced boy looked so sad at this, that she pressed his hand still more, and smiled still more kindly. Then Edouard sat and began to watch with innocent curiosity the tears arrive thus, two a minute, without any trouble while the mouth smiled and the hand pressed his.

At last he said,

in

a sort of petting- tone

— ''Crying, Jacintha?" " No, my friend —not that

I

am aware

of."

—good here comes anpossible." "Am dear?— — so pretty. I am afraid I like

" Yes, you are other."

it is

I,

'*

my " My

it is

!

it

it is

fault.

By the by, what is it

for ?"

perhaps it is that you praised me too warmly, monsieur; these are the first words of sympathy that have ever been spoken to me in this villag-e, above all, the first words of good-will to friend,

you do love them, and so do I." *' Thank you thank you " !

!

;

LIES.

23

father served a baron of

My father was

Beaurepaire.

and fed from the baron's plate he was disabled b^'' ague for many years before he died, was my poor father; my mother died in the house, and was buried in the sacred ground near the family chapel. Yes, her body is aside theirs in death, and so was her heart while she lived. They put an inscription on her tomb praising' her fidelity and probity. Do you think these things do not sink into the heart of the poor? praise on her tomb, and not a word on their own, but just the name, and when each was born and died, you know. Ah the pride of their gamekeeper,

to his last hour

;



!

the mean is dirt, but the pride of the noble is gold * '' For, look you, among- parvenus I should be a servant, and nothing- more; in this proud family I am a humble friend of course they are not always gossiping with me like vulgar masters and mistresses if they did, I should neither respect nor love them ; but they all smile on me whenever I come into the room, even the baroness herself. I belong to them, and they belong to me, by ties without number, by the years themselves reflect, monsieur, a century by the many kind words in many troubles, by the one roof that sheltered us a hundred years, and the grave where our bones lie together till the day of God." Jacintha clasped her hands, and the black eyes shone out warm through their





dew. Riviere's glistened too.

" It

well said," he cried ; " it is nobly But, permit me, these are ties that owe their force to the souls they bind. How often have such bonds round human hearts proved ropes of sand. They grapple you like hooks of steel because j^ou are steel yourself to the backbone. I admire you, cit Jacintha dear. Such said

is

!



the family I love so."

" Yes





!

!

''What witchcraft do they possess? They make me, you, and, I think, every honest heart, their friend." **Ah, monsieur, do not be offended, but believe me it is no small thing to be an old family. There, you see, I do not weep on the contrary, I discourse. My grand-



* The French peasant often thinks half a sen. and utters the other half aloud, and so

tence,

breaks air in the middle of a thought. Probably if we had the means of " Besides knowing it, would have run like this I have another reason. I could not be so comfortable myself elsewhere for, look you

Jacintha's whole thought,

:



;:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

24

women

as you have a great mission in France just now." " Is that true ? What can women

do?" " Bring forth heroes Be the mothers of great men — the Catos and the !

Gracchi of the future." Jacintha smiled. She did not know the Gracchi and their political sentiments and they sounded well. " Gracchi " a name with a ring- to it. People of distinction no doubt. "That would be too much honor/' re" At present I must plied she, modestly. say adieu " and she moved off an inch at a time, and with an uncertain hesitating- manner, looking- this way and that " out of the tail of her eye," as the Italians and Scotch phrase it. Riviere put no interpretation on this. "Adieu, then, if it must be so," said !

!

he.

She caught sig-ht of the game laid out on this excuse she stopped dead short. She eyed it wistfull3^ " Have Riviere caught this glance. some of it," cried he, "do have some of it."

"

"What

should I do with game? "I mean for the chateau." " They have such quantities of it." " Ah no doubt. All the tenants send !

it,

"

!

I suppose."

" Of course they do." " What a pity It is then fated that !

I

not to be able to show my good-will to that family, not even in such a trifle as this." Jacintha wheeled suddenl}'- round on him, and so by an instinct of female art caught off its guard that face which she had already openly perused. This done, she paused a moment, and then came walking an inch at a time back to him entered the porch thoughtAt first she fully, and coolly sat down. sat just opposite Riviere, but the next moment, reflecting that she was in sight from the road, she slipped into a corner and there anchored. Riviere opened his eyes, and while she was settling her skirts he was puzzling his little head. "How odd," thought he. "So long

am

;

as I asked her to sit down, *No, I am going.' "

it

was always,

" Yes, my friend, you have divined it!" " Oh, have I ? ah, yes divined what ? "





" That I am going to tell you the Your face as well as your words the cause. Oh, yes, I will tell you

truth. is

all

"

!

"Is it about Beaurepaire ? "Yes." " But you did tell me all those were ;

your very words."

"

It is possible

—inexact."

but

;

all I

told j^ou

was

" Oh,

no, Jacintha, that cannot be. I truth in every tone of j^our voice." " That was because you are true, and innocent, and pure. Forgive me for not reading you at a glance. Now I will tell felt

you all." " Oh, do

pray do '\ " Listen then ah, my friend, swear to me by that sainted woman, your mother, that you will never reveal what I trust you with at this moment " !

!

!

I

" Jacintha, I swear by my mother to keep your secret." " Then, my poor friend, what Dard told

was not altogether false." " Good heavens Jacintha." "Though it was but a guess on his part ; for I never trusted my own sweetheart as now I trust a stranger. "You that have shown such good sentiments toward us, oh, hear and then tell me,"can nothing be done ? "No, don't speak to me let me go on before my courage dies yes, share this secret with me, for it gnaws me, it chokes me. " To see what I see every daj'^, and do what I do, and have no one I dare breathe a word to oh, it is very hard. "Nevertheless, see on what a thread things turn if one had told me an hour ago it was you I should open my heart you'

!



;

;

:

to!

"My child, my my

dear old mistress, and sweet young ladies are ah no, I



can't

"

!

!

I can't

What

a poltroon I am.

Yes

!

thank

"

'



WHITE you, your hand in mine gives me courage They are not I hope I am not doing ill. economical. They are not stingy. They My are not paying off their debts. friend, the baroness and the demoiselles :

—are paupers."

de Beaurepaire

CHAPTER " Paupers " *' Alas

III.

?

!

" Members of the nobility paupers ? " for their debts are greater than *' Yes their means ; they live by sufferance they lie at the mercy of the law, and of their creditors ; and every now and then these monsters threaten us, though they ;

know we

struggle to

them

give

their

due."

"

What do

*'

To

they threaten

petition

?

"

government to

sell

chateau and lands, and pay them wretches "

the

— the

!

"The hogs!" *' And then, the worst

of

it

is,

the

family can't do anything the least little I was in the room when M. bit mean. Perrin, the notary, gave the baroness a

hint to cut down every tree on the estate, and sell the timber, and laj^ by the money for her

own

use.

She heard him out, and

then, oh the look she gave ered him up on his chair. !

" I rob

him



it

with-

!

!

:



'



25

and Laure's. You do not know, perhaps* each of those young ladies there can sit down upon her back hair. Monsieur, I will neither strip the glory from my daughters' heads, nor from the ancient lands of Beaurepaire nor hallow some



Republican's barn, pigstj', or dwellinghouse, with the stones of the sacred place where I pray for my husband's soul.' " Those were her words. She had been sitting quite quiet like a cat, watching for him. She rose up to speak, and those words came from her like puffs of flame from a furnace. You could not forget one of them if you lived ever so long. He hasn't come to see us since then, and it's six months ago." "I call it false pride, Jacintha." " Do you ? then I don't," said Jacintha, firing up.

" Well, no matter

;

tell

me more."

" I will tell 3^ou all. I have promised.'' " Is it true about the beans ? "

"It is too true." " But this coffee that you have " bouglrt ?

just

"I have not bought it; I have emit. Every now and then I take

bezzled

a bunch of grapes from the conservatory. Then she I give it to the grocer's wife. gives me a little coffee, and says to herself,

'That

girl is

a

thief.'

"

" More fool she. She says nothing of the sort, you spiteful girl." "Then I secretly flavor my poor mistress's breakfast with it."

" Secretl}-- ? But you tell Mademoiselle Laure." " How innocent you are ? Don't 3'ou see that she roasts beans that her mother may still think she drinks coffee and that I flavor her rubbish on the sly, that Mademoiselle Laure may fancy her beans have really a twang of coffee and for aught I know, the baroness sees through us both, and smacks her lips over the draught to make us all happy ; for women are very deep, my young monsieur you have no idea how deep they are. Yes, at Beaurepaire we all love and deceive one another."



husband's and my Josephine's estate of its beauty cut down the old trees that show the chateau is not a thing of j^esterday, like your Directory, your Republic, and your guillotine "So then. Monsieur Perrin, to soften No, madame, spare the anher, said cient oak, of course, and indeed all the very old trees ; but sell the others.' " ' The others ? what, the trees that my own husband planted ? and why not knock down my little oratory in the park he built it. The stones would sell for something so would Josephine's hair

my

'

LIES.

;

;



"

You make my

heart sick.

was untrue about the wine

?

"

Then

it

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

26

" No, it was not we have plenty of that. The baron left the cellar brimful of wine. There is enough to last us all our lives and, while we have it, we will g-ive it to the brave and the poor." " And pinch yourselves ? " ''And pinch ourselves." ;

;

"Why

don't they

necessaries ''

?

swap the wine

for

"

Because they could not do a mean

thing." " Where

Am

the meanness ? I the mean thing ? " " Ah, no, monsieur. Well, then, they won't do a thing other barons of Beaurepaire never did ; and that is why they sit down to a good bottle of wine from their own cellar, and to grapes and peaches from their own garden, and even truffles from their own beech coppice, and good cream from their own cow, and scarce two sous' worth of bread, and butcher's meat not once a fortnight." '' In short, they eat fifteen francs' worth of luxuries, and so have not ten sous for wholesome food." ''Yes, monsieur." " Yes, monsieur ? " cried Riviere, spite-

man

is

to advise a

mocking her; "and don't you see

fully

extravagance? duty as well as

this is not cconomj'-, but

Don't

3'ou see it is their

their interest to sell their wine, or

some

it, and their fruit, and buy eatables, and even put by money to pay their debts?" " It would be if they were vulgar

of

but these are not grocers nor cheap Johns ; these are the high noblesse of France." " These are a pack of fools," roared the irritated Republican, " and you are as

people

;

bad as they."

"I do not assert the contrary," replied Jacintha, humbly and lovingly, disarming his wrath with a turn of the tongue.

"My

friend," she continued in the

tone,

" at present our cow

so that

is

goes dry, for

a great help

;

same

in full milk but when she

is

;

God knows what we shall do, And Jacintha turned a

I don't."

face so full of sorrow on him, that he

was ashampd

of having been with her absurdity.

in

a rage

"And

then to come by and hear my sweetheart, that ought to be on my side, running down those saints and martyrs to a stran to our best friend." " Poor Jacintha " "Oh, no ; don't, don't already it costs me a great struggle not to give way." "Indeed! you tremble." " Like enough— it is the nerves. Take no notice, or I could not answer for myself. My heart is like a lump of lead in my bosom at this hour. No it is not so much for what goes on up at the chateau. That will not kill them. Love nourishes as well as food ; and we all love one another at Beaurepaire. It is for the whisper I have just heard in the village."

own

— !

!

!

"What?— what?" "That one

of these cruel creditors is

going to have the estate

and chateau

sold."

"Curse him "He might as well send for the guillotine and take their lives at once. You !

look at me. tress as I do.

You

Ah

!

my

don't know butchers, if

mis-

it is so,

you

will take nothing out of that house but her corpse. And is it come to this ? The great old family to be turned adrift like beggars to wander over the world ? Oh, mj'- poor mistress Oh, my pretty demoiselles that I played with and nursed ever since I Avas a child I was just six when Josephine was born and that I shall love till my last breath." The young woman, torn by the violence of a feeling so long pent up in her own bosom, fell to panting, and laughing, and sobbing, and trembling violentl3\ The statesman, who had passed all his short life at school and college, was frightened out of his wits, and ran to her side, and took hold of her and pulled her, and cried, " Oh, don't, Jacintha you !

!

!





;

will kill yourself,

frightful

die

j'ou will

—help here

!

help

"

!

—this

is

!

Jacintha put her hand to his mouth, and, without leaving off her hysterics, gasped out, " Ah don't expose me." So then he didn't know what to do but he seized a tumbler, and with trembling hand filled it with wine, and threw himself on his knees, and forced it between !

;

—" "

!

WHITE her lips. All she did was to bite a piece out of the glass as clean as if a diamond had cut it. This did her g-ood destruction of sacred household property g-ave her another turn. ''There, I've broke your glass now," she cried with a marvelous change of tone and she came to, and sobbed and cried reasonably. The other young thing of the tender though impetuous heart set to comfort



;

" Poor Jacintha dear Jacinth a I will be a friend both to them and you. There Oh, oh, oh is a kiss not to cry so." And lo, and behold he burst out crying !

!

!

himself.

This gave Jacintha another turn. *' I will Oh, my son don't you cry never s-s-suffer that." " How can I help it ? Oh It is you make me sobbing and weeping like that." " Forgive me, little heart. I will be m-more reasonable, not to afflict you. Oh I will take Oh, see, I leave off the wine." Edouard put the other side of the glass to her lips, and she supped a teaspoonful of wine. This was her native politeness, not to slight a remedy he had offered. Then he put down the glass, and she drew his head lightly to her bosom, and he felt her quietly crying. She was touched to the core by his sympathy. As for him, he was already ashamed of the weakness he could not quite master, and was not sorry to hide his face so agreeably. '* Oh dear Now oh ^3^ou are not to fancy (I can hear your heart beat where I 'am, Jacintha) I ever cry. I have not done such a contemptible thing since I !

!

I



I

I



!

was a boy." " I believe

my my

LIES.

27

" Why, of course we can. People never know what they can do till they try. I shall think of something, you may depend." (Vanity revived.) *' And I must run to Beaurepaire they ; will think I am lost." " Oh, Jacintha !

"What?" "

You will take some of the game now." " That I will—from you." " Thank you. Quick quick for goodness' sake. Here take these four birds. That is right pin up your apron that makes a capital pocket." "The hare would be more nourishing than the birds," said Jacintha, timidh\ "You are to have the hare as well, of course ; send me down Dard ; he shall take her up." * " No no Dard and I are bad friends. will ask no favor of him. He shall be I my suppliant all this day, not I his. Look at my arm, do you think that is afraid of a hare ? " " Why, it is half as big again as mine, Jacintha for all that, I shall carry the hare up in my pocket. France is still France, whatever you may think a pretty woman must not be let drag a hare about the nation come " Surel3% monsieur does not think of





her.

fault.

!



Forgive me.

it.

no

It is

discredit.

It

was

Ah

!

all

no,

son ; those tears do you honor, and make the poor Jacintha your friend." These foolish drops do not long quench our statesman's and puppy's manly ardor, cried, " let us do blubbering." "Ah if we could do anything," cried Jacintha, catching fire at him.

" Come, come " he !

something, not !

sit



"



;

!

!

;

;



;

accompanying me " Why not ? " " Oh, as for that, I am no prude it is a road, too, on which one meets no one ah bah if you are not ashamed of me, I am not of you allons." They walked up the road in silence. Riviere had something on his mind, and Jacintha was demurely watching for it !



!

out of the

tail

of

her

At

eye.

last,

ashamed of going along and not saying a word to rustic Hebe, he dropped out " I shall this in an absent sort of way never know by your manner whether you :



are telling the truth or

the reverse." answer. "You do it beautifully." No answer. " So smooth and convincing." No an-

No

swer.

" Seriously, then, I used to think it a crime, a sordid vice but now I see that even a falsehood, coming from a pure





"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

28 heart,

is purified,

and becomes virtuous,

pious."

" Never *^

And

!

useful."

" What use were mine ? I had to unpick them the next minute and do you think I did not blush like fi.re while I was eating" my own words one after an-



other

"

?

— !



;

me, run to a

women ;

lie

the

first thing, like

rats

Now, mark the consequence

to a hole.

small

suffer

many

half of these

troubles, great

—that tells

is

their way— it is one

you so."

" Set your mind at ease, fair moralist I shall think of 3'our precepts. I will even note down one of the brilliant things you said " and he took out his tablets. " 'A lie is a lump of sin, and a bit no a piece of follj'-, eh ? " " That is it " cried Jacintha, gayly, her anxiety removed. "I did not think you were tive-and;





'

God

come

to

them by

!

!



and I am close upon five-andtwenty and I have seen ten times as much life as you, though I have lived in I think,



a village." " Don't be angry, Jacintha to every word."

"I am

in earnest,

terrified

my

;

I listen

friend, because

me when you

smirked

like

that and talked of beautiful lies, pious filth?) and then lies, (why not clean quoted me to prove it. Innocence is so easily corrupted. And I could not sleep at night if my tongue had corrupted one so innocent and good and young as you,

my dear." "Now, don't you be alarmed," cried the statesboj", haughtily, "you need not fear that I shall ever take after women in that or anything else." "Mind they will be the first to despise

though."

"I am then



don't you believe me?" " Why not ? Indeed how could I disbelieve you after your lecture ? " "It is well," said Jacintha, with dignity.

She was twenty-seven by the parish books. Riviere relapsed into his reverie. This time it was Jacintha who spoke first.

"You

forgive

glass, monsieur,

me for breaking the and making you cry ? '*

—what things —and as for the other

"Bother the glass

the

;



tvventy,

;

and

but the other haii they make for themselves by their silly want of truth and candor there " "Bless my soul! here is a sermon. Why, how earnest you are " "Yes, I am in earnest, and you should Consider, I am many not mock me. years older than j'^ou you are not twenty,

you

you do

if

them that

!

" I did not see you." *^A sig-n I blushed inside, and that is worse. M}^ young monsieur," continued Jacintha, gravel}'', *' listen to me. A lie a lump of sin, and is always two things a piece of folly. Yes women are readier and smoother at that sort of work than men all the worse for them. Men lie at times to gain some end they are hard bent on but their instinct is to tell the truth, those that are men at all. But women, especially uneducated ones like

will of

you of

to think of

business



while I

;

3'^ou

me, but

fool of

did 3^ou

it

little

fairly

;

3'ou

made a

began with yourself

remember that." "Oh, a woman cries as she

please to



spits that goes for nothing but it is not fair of her to make a man cry just because he has a feeling heart." *A woman cries as she "Stop! Why, Jacintha, that is rather spits a coarse sentiment to come from 3'ou, who say such beautiful things, and such wise things now and then." " What would you have ? " replied Ja-









!

'



with sudden humility. "When done I am but a domestic; I am

cintha, all is

not an instructed person." " On reflection, if coarse, it is succinct. I had better note it down with the other no I shalL remember this one without You may take your oath of that. Good things have to be engraved on the memorj' bad ones stick there of themselves. Monsieur, we^re now near Beau-



*•'



repaire."

"So "

Well?" come out every day — if mop*

I see.

I don't

—" WHITE sieur has anything- important to say to me, now is surely the time." " Ah What do you mean ? " !

*'

I

mean that

chat

all this

is

not what

you want to say to me. There is something- you have half a mind to tell Jacintha, and half a mind not. Do you think I can't read your face by this time.^ There, I stop to hear it before it is too Come, out with it." late. " It is all very well to say out with it, but I have not the courage." " It is then that j'^ou do not feel I am your friend." " Don't speak so, and don't look so Jacintha

kindly, or I shall tell you. **

My



child."

*'It is going to be secret for secret between us two is not that nice ? " " '* Delicious

— !

"

Ay but for my secret ;

you must swear as is

I did,

as important as yours

every bit." " ** I swear " *' Then, Jacintha, I am in love And, having made the confession blushing, he smiled a little pompously, for he felt it was a step that stamped him a man. Jacintha's face expanded with sacred joy at the prospect of a love affair then she laughed at his conceit in fancying a boy's love could be as grave a secret as hers finally she lowered her voice to a whisper, though no creature was in sight. ** Who is it, dear ? " and her eye twinkled, and her ear cocked, and all !

!

;

;

a

"

LIES.

29

the very idea of such a thing. The saints forgive us, he has fallen in love with her

church " No, no. Why, I have met her eleven times out walking with her sister, stupid, and twice she smiled on me. Oh, Jacintha a smile such as angels smile smile to warm the heart and purify the soul and last forever in the mind." " Well, I have heard say that ' man is fire and woman tow,' but this beats all. Ha ha " in

!



!

!

!

" Oh, do not

jest I did not laugh at you." " I will not be so cruel, so ungrateful, as to jest. Still—he he " " No, Jacintha, it is no laughing matter I revere her as mortals revere the saints. I love her so, that, were I ever to lose all hope of her, I would not live a day. And now that you have told me she is poor and in sorrow, and I think of her walking so calm and gentle always and her low courtesy in black, Jacintha to me whenever we met, and her sweet smile to me though her heart must be sad, oh my heart j'-earns for her. What can I do for her ? How shall I surround her with myself unseen make her feel that a man's love waits upon her feet every step she takes that a man's love floats in the air round that lovely head. And oh, Jacintha if some daj^ she should deign to ask, ' Who is this, whom as yet " I know only by his devotion ? !

!

!

;





!





!

'

the woman bristled. ''Jacintha, can't you guess ? " and he looked down. " Me ? How should I know which way your fancy lies ? " But even as she said these words her eye seemed to give a flash inward, and her vivid intelligence seized the clew in a

" She will ask that question much earlier than you seem to think, Innocence." "Will she? bless yon, Jacintha; but it is ungenerous to think of the reward for loving. Oh, no, I will entertain no selfish motives, I will love and prove my love whether there is any hope for me or not dear Jacintha, is there any hope " for me, do j'ou think ?

moment. " I was blind " she screamed, " I was blind It's ray young lady. I thought it was vQYj odd you should cr}'^ for me, and

Now Jacintha could not help fearing there was very little, but her heart and his earnest face looking into hers would not let her saj'' so.

take such an interest ah rogue with the face of innocence. But how and where was it done? They never dine from home. You have not been two months here that is what put me off

" There is hope for all men," said she. " I will do all I can for j'^ou, and tell you but after all it must depend all I see on 3^ourself only I may hinder you from going at it in a hurry and spilling the milk

!

!





!

;

;

;



WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

30 forever.

After all," she continued, look-

the way to win such ladies as mine is to deserve them not one in fifty men deserves such ing-

;

:

at the case

more

hopefully,

'•'

this sort in his youthful day. of

He ended a harmless

it.

I

am

biped

:

sure wit-

ness his epitaph



HERE LIES

as they are, but you do. There is not a woman in the world that is too good for

Sir

No one laughs No one cries. Where he is gone, And how he fares, No one knows, And no one cares.

you."

;

" Ah, Jacintha, that deeply

feel

my

is

nonsense.

I

inferiority."

And if you were, you wouldn't," cried maid, one of whose secret sententious the maxims appears to have been " point before the grammar." *' Jacintha, before I go, remember, if anything happens you have a friend out **

of the house."

"

John Guise.

And

a stanch friend in it." *' Jacintha, I am too happy; I feel to want to be alone with all the thoughts that throng on me. Good-by, Jacintha ; " and he was off like a rocket. ''My hare! my hare! my hare!" screeched Jacintha, on the ascending jT^ou

scale.

" Oh, you dear girl you remember all the little things my head is in a whirl come out, hare." "1^0 " said Jacintha. " You take her round by the back wall and fling her over." Jacintha gave this order in a new tone but there was a little it was pleasant air of authority now that seemed to say: " I have got your secret you are in my power, you must obey me now,' my son !

;

!



;

;

;

or—" Riviere did as ordered, and when he came back Jacintha was already within

the grounds of Beaurepaire. She turned and put a finger to her lips, to imply dead secrecy on both sides he did the same, and so the vile conspirators parted. Puppies, lilce prisoners and a dozen other classes, are of many classes stupidly confounded under one name by those cuckoos that chatter and scribble us dead, but never think. There is the commonplace young puppy, who is only a puppy The fate of this because he is young. is to outgrow his puppj'dom, and be an sometimes wise, someaverage man times silly, and on the whole neither good nor bad. Sir John Guise was a puppy of ;



There is the vacant puppy, empty of everything but egoism, and its skin full to bursting of that. Eye, the color of which looks washed out; much nose little forehead long ears. Young lad}^ has this sort of thing been asking you to share its home and gizzard ? On receipt of these presents say " No," and ten years after go on jouv bended knees and bless me Men laugh at and kick this animal by turns ; but it is woman's executioner. Old age will do nothing for this but turn it from a selfish welp to a surl}'^ old dog. Unless Religion





!

steps

in,

whose daily work

is

miracles.

There is the good-heauted, intelligent puppy. Ah poor soul, he runs tremendous risks. Any day he is liable to turn a hero, a wit, a saint, a useful man. Half the heroes that have fallen nobly fighting for their country in this war and the last, or have come back scarred, maimed, and glorious, were puppies smoking, drawling, dancing from town to town, and spurring the ladies' dresses. mhey changed with circumstances, and without difficulty. !

Our good-hearted, intelligent pupp}'went from this interview with a servantgirl a man. He took to his bosom a great and ten-



der feeling that never yet failed to ennoble and enlarge the heart and double the understanding. She he loved was sad, was poor, was menaced by many ills then she needed a champion. He would be her unseen A hundred friend, her guardian angel. wild schemes whirled in his beating heart and brain, as he went home on wings. ;





.

WHITM could not go in-doors. He made for a green lane he knew at the back of the village, and there he walked up and down The sun set, and the night for hours.

He

came, and the stars glittered but still he walked alone, inspired, exalted, full of generous and loving schemes, and sweet and tender fancies a heart on fire ; and youth the fuel, and the flame vestal. ;

;

.

LIES.

31

" We are not unhappy while we have our mother," replied Josephine, all love and no logic. They came toward the house together, the baroness leaning gently on her daughter's elbow.

Between the park and the angle of the chateau was a small plot of turf called at Beaurepaire the Pleasance, a name that had descended along with other traditions and in the center of this Pleasance or Pleasaunce stood a wonderful oak tree. Its circumference was thirty-four feet. The baroness came to this ancient tree, her chaplet in her hand The tree had a mutilated limb that pointed toward the house. The baroness hung her chaplet on this stump. The sun was setting tranquil and red ; a broad ruby streak lingered on the deep green leaves of the prodigious oak. The baroness looked at it awhile in ;

CHAPTER

IV.

This day, so eventful to our ex-puppy's was a sad one up at Beaurepaire.

heart, It

was the anniversary

of the baron's

death.

The baroness kept her room all the morning, and took no nourishment but one cup of spurious coffee Laure brought her. At one o'clock she came downstairs.

silence.

She did not enter the sitting-room.

here

In

the hall she found two chaplets of flowers; they were always placed there for her on

She took them in her hand and went into the park. Her daughters watched her from the window. She went

this sad day.

to the little oratory that was in the park; there she 'found two wax candles burning, and two fresh chaplets hung up. Her daughters had been there before her. She knelt and prayed many hours for her husband's soul; then she rose and hung up one chaplet and came slowly away with the other in her hand At the gate of the park filial love met her as Josephine, and filial love as Laure watched the meeting from the window. Josephine came toward her with tender anxiety in her sapphire eyes and wreathed her arms round her and whispered half inquiringly, half reproach-

fully-

"You have

your children

The baroness

kissed her

still."

and

replied

with a half-guilty manner "No, Josephine, I did not pray to leave you till 5^ou are happy."



Then she spoke slowly

to the oak

and

said ^*

You were

A

here before us

—you will

when we are gone." spasm crossed Josephine's

be



face., but she said nothing. They went in together. will follow them. But flfst, ere the sun is set, stay a few minutes and look at the Beaurepaire oak, while I tell you the little men knew about it, not the thousandth part of what it could have told if trees could speak as well as breathe. The baroness did not exaggerate. The tree was somewhat older than even this ancient family. There was a chain of family documents, several of which related incidents in which this tree played a

We

part.

The oldest of these manuscripts was written by a monk, a younger son of the house, about five hundred years before our story. This would not have helped us much, but luckily the good monk was at the pains to collect all the oral traditions about it that had come down from a far more remote antiquity, and, like a sensible man, arrested and solidified them by the pen. He had a superstitious reverence for the tree; and probably this

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

32

too came down to him from his ancestors, as it was certainly transmitted by him to the chroniclers that succeeded him.

The sum of all is this. The first Baron of Beaurepaire had pitched his tent under a fair oak tree that stood properivum near a brook. He



afterward built a square tower hard by, and dug a moat that inclosed both tree and tower and received the waters of the brook aforesaid. These particulars corresponded too exactly with the present face of thing's and the intermediate accounts, to leave a doubt that this was the

same

menting the minstrels' tales of love by exchange of amorous glances. It had seen a Norman duke conquer England, and English kings invade France and be crowned at Paris. It had seen a woman put knights to the rout, and seen God insulted and the warrior virgin burned by envious priests, with the consent of the curs she had defended and the curs she had defeated. Medigeval sculptors had taken its leaves and wisely trusting to Nature had adorned many a church with those leaves cut in stone.

Why,

tree.

In these early days its size seems to have been nothing remarkable, and this proves it was still growing- timber. But a century and a half before the monk wrote it had become famous in all the district for its girth, and in the monk's own day had ceased to grow, but showed no sign of decay. The mutilated arm I have mentioned was once a long sturdy bough worn smooth as velvet in one part from a curious cause it ran about as high above the ground as a full-sized horse, and the knights and squires used to be forever vaulting upon it, the former in armor; the monk when a boy had seen them do it> a thousand times. The heart of the tree began to go, and then this heavy bough creaked suspiciously. In those days they did not prop a sacred bough with a line of iron posts as now. They solved the diflQculty by cutting this one off within six feet of the trunk two centuries later, the tree being now nearly hollow, a rude iron bracket was roughly nailed into the stem, and running out three feet supported the for so the mutilated knights' bough limb was still called. What had not this tree seen since first it came green and tender as a cabbage above the soil and stood at the mercy of the first hare or rabbit that should choose to cut short forever its frail existence Since then eagles had perched on its crown and wild boars fed without fear of man upon its acorns. Troubadours had sung beneath it to lords and ladies seated around or walking on the grass and com:

;

;

!

age it had seen the rise and the first dawn of national civilization in Europe. It flourished and decayed in France but it grew in Gaul. And more remarkable still, though by all accounts it is like to see the world to an in its old

of printing,

;

end,

it

was a

tree in ancient historj'-

:

its

age awaits the millennium its first 3'outh belonged to that great tract of time which includes the birth of Christ, the building of Rome, and the siege of old

:

Troy.

The

tree

had mingled

in

the fortunes of

the family.

had saved their lives and taken their One Lord of Beaurepaire, hotly pursued by his feudal enemies, made for the tree and hid himself partly by a great bough, partly by the thick screen of leaves. The foe darted in, made sure he had taken to the house, ransacked it and got into the cellar, where by good luck was store of Malvoisie; and so the oak and the vine saved the quaking baron. Another Lord of Beaurepaire, besieged in his castle, was shot dead on the ramparts by a cross-bowman who had secreted It

lives.

himself unobserved in this tree a

little

be-

dawn. A young heir of Beaurepaire, climbing for a raven's nest to the top of this tree, whose crown was much loftier then than now, lost his footing and fell, and died at the foot of the tree; and his mother in her anguish bade them cut down the tree that had killed her boy. But the baron, her husband, refused, and said what in the English of the day would run thus *' ytte ys eneugh that I lose mine sonne,

fore the

— WHITE nat alsoe lose mine Tre." In the solid sentiment of the proprietor cutweig-hed the temporary irritation of Then the mother, we are the parent. told, bought fifteen ells of black velvet, and stretched a pall from th5 knights' bough across the west side to another branch, and cursed the hand that should remove it, and she herself '^wolde never passe the Tre neither going nor coming, but went still about." And when she died and should have been carried past the tree to the park, her dochter did cry from a window to the bearers, '"Goe about! goe about!" and they went about and all the companj^ And in time the velvet pall rotted, and was torn and driven away rapidis ludihria ventis : and when the hand of Nature, and no human hand, had thus flouted and dispersed the trappings of the mother's grief, two pieces were picked up and preserved among the family relics and the black velvet had turned a rusty red. So the baroness did nothing new in this family when she hung her chaplet on the knights' bough and, in fact, on the west side, about eighteen feet from the ground, there still mouldered one corner of an atchievement an heir of Beaurepaire hud I will

male the

:

;

;

nailed there

two centuries

before,

when

"for," said he, **the chateau is of j^esterday, but the tree has seen us all come and go." The inside of the tree was clean gone it was hollow as a drum not eight inches thiCR and on its east side ^^awned in any part a fissure as high as a man and as broad as a street door. Dard used to wh«)l his wheelbarrow into the tree at a trot, and there leave it. In spite of excavation and mutilation, not life only but vigor dwelt in this the extreme ends of the wooden shell longer boughs were firewood, touchwood, and the crown was gone time out of mind but narrow the circle a very little to where the indomitable trunk could still shoot sap from its cruise deep in earth, in there on every side burst the green leaves in summer countless as the sand. The leaves carved centuries ago from these very models, though cut in his predecessor

died:

:



;



:

(C)

.

"2

LIES.

33

of them mouldered, notched, deformed but the delicate types came back with every summer perfect and lovely as when the tree was but their elder brother and greener than ever for from what cause Nature only knows, the leaves were many shades deeper and richer than any other tree could show for a hundred miles round a deep green, fiery, yet soft; and then their multitude the staircases of foliage as you looked up the tree, and could scarce catch a glimpse of the sky an inverted abyss of color, a mound, a dome, of flake emeralds that quivered in the golden air.

stone,

were most



blunted,



:







And now the sun sets the green leaves are black the moon rises her cold light shoots across one half that giant stem. How solemn and calm stands the great





round tower of living wood, half ebony, half silver, with its mighty cloud above of flake jet leaves tinged with frosty fire at one edge Now is the still hour to repeat in a whisper the words of the dame of Beaurepaire " You were here before us you will be here when we are gone." Let us leave the hoary king of trees standing in the moonlight, calmly defj'ing time, and let us follow the creatures of a day since what they were we are. !

:

:

;

A

spacious saloon paneled

snowy white picked out

:

dead but

sparing-ly with

Festoons of fruit and flowers flnely carved in wood on some of the panels. These also not smothered with gilding, but, as it were, gold speckled here and there, like tongues of flame winding among insoluble snow. Ranged against the walls were sofas and chairs covered with och stuffs well worn. And in one little distant corner of the long room a gray-haired gentleman and two young ladies sitting on cane chairs round a small plain table, on which burned a solitary candle and a little waj'- apart in this candle's twilight an old lady sat in an easy-chair, in a deep reverie, thinking of the past, scarce daring to inquire the future. Rkadk—Vol. VL gold.

;

"

WOEKS OF CHARLES READE.

34

Josephine and Laure were working, not fancy work but needle-work ; Doctor St. Aubin, writing-. Every now and then he put the one candle nearer the girls. They raised no objection, onl3^ a few minutes after a white hand would glide from one or other of them like a serpent, and smoothly convey the light nearer to the doctor's manuscript. *'

Is it not supper-time?*' inquired the

moment

After glowing a

light.

in

the

doorway she dived into the shadow and emerged into light again close to the table, with napkins on her arm. She removed the work-box reverentially, the doctor's manuscript unceremoniously, and proceeded to lay a cloth, in which operation she looked at Josephine a point-blank glance of admiration then she placed the napkins; and in this process she again cast a strange look of interest ;

doctor, at last.

upon Josephine.

" One would think not. Jacintha is very punctual." " So she may be, but I have an inward

The young lady noticed it this time, and looked inquiringly at her in return, half expecting some communication but Jacintha lowered her eyes and bustled about the table. Then Josephine spoke

monitor, mesdemoiselles ; and, by the way, our dinner was, I think, more ethereal than usual." "Hush!" said Josephine, and looked uneasily toward her mother. She added *' Wax is so in a whisper dear." *'Wax? ah! pardon me," and the doctor returned hastily to his work. Then Laure looked up and said " I :



:



little

of anything, for the spacious

room was impenetrable

to her eye. Midthe candle to the distant door its tvtilight deepened, and all became shapeless and somber. The prospect ended half-way sharp and black, as in those out-o'-door closets imagined and painted by Mr. Turner, whose nature (Mr. Turner's) comes to a full stop as soon as Mr. Turner sees no further occasion for her, instead of melting by fine expanse and exquisite gradation into genuine distance as Nature does in Claude and in Nature. To reverse the picture, standing at the door 3'ou looked across forty feet of black, and the little corner seemed on fire, and the fair heads about the candle shone like the heads of St. Cecilias and Madonnas in an antique stained-glass window. At last Laure observed the door open, and another candle glowed upon Jacintha's comely peasant face in the doorway. She put down her candle outside the door and started as the crow flies for the other

way from

to her with a sort of instinct of curiosity —that this look might find words.

" Supper

a

is

not, Jacintha



wonder Jacintha does not come it is certainly past the hour; " and she pried into the room as if she expected to see Jacintha on the road. But she saw in fact very

;

?

little late

to-night

;

is it

"

**Yes, mademoiselle, I have to do than usual

;

had more

" and with this she de-

livered another point-blank look as before,

and dived into the palpable obscure and came to light in the doorwa3^ Josephine. " Did you see that ? " Laure. " What ? " Josephine. *• The look she gave me ? " Laure. " No. What look ? " Josephine. "A singular look, a look of curi osity one would say almost of that is impossible — ad mi but no " Clearly." St. Aubin (dryly). He " ^dded after a pause yet after all it







;



:

the prettiest face in the room ". " Doctor," cried Laure, with fury. *''M3^ child, I did not see you." ** And how dare you call my Josephine pretty' ? the Madonna pretty ? does that describe her ? I am indignant." ''Mademoiselle Laure, perSt. Aubin. mit me to observe that, by calling Mademoiselle your Josephine, 3'ou claim a cannot possibly monopoly that ahem be conceded." " Why, whose JoLaure (haughtily)

is



!



.

sephine St.

is

she but mine

Aubin

?

"

(after coolly taking a pinch

and seeming to reflect). ''Mine." Here a voice at the fireplace put quietly " Twenty years ago Laure was not in born, and ray good friend there had never of snuff,

:

;

WHITE

LIES.

35

seen Beaurepaire. Whose Josephine was " she then, good people ? ''Mamma! whose is she now?" and

with exultation; and had an agreeable cry by the kitchen fire, the result of her factitious and somewhat super-

Josephine was at her mother's knees

upstairs and, the tear her e3'^e, set to and polished all the copper stew-pans with a vigor and expedition unknown to the new-fangled

in

a

moment. " Good "

fluous stoicism

said the doctor to Laure. See the result of our injudicious comthird part^^ has carried her petition. off. Is supper never coming- ? Are you hungry, not my child ? " no not very." *' Yes, my friend Alas if the truth must be told, they were all hung-ry. So rigorous was the economy in this decayed but honorable house, that the wax candles burned today in the oratory had scrimped their dinner, unsubstantial as it was wont to Think of that, you in fustian jackets be. who grumble on a full belly. My lads, many a back you envy, with its silk and broadcloth, has to rob the stomach. » " Ah here she is." The door opened Jacintha appeared in the light of her candle a moment with a and approaching tray in both hands was lost to view. Before she emerged to sight again a strange and fragrant smell heralded her. All their eyes turned with curiosit}^ toward the unwonted odor, till Jacintha dawned with three roast partridges on !

**

A



!

!

!

;

;

a dish.

They were wonderstruck. Jacintha 's was red as fire, partly with cooking, partly with secret pride and happiness but she concealed it, and indeed all apface

pearance of feeling under a feigned apathy. She avoided their eyes, and resolutely excluded from her face everything that could impl}^ she did not serve up partridges to this family every night of her life. The young ladies looked from the birds to her, and from her to the birds, in mute surprise, that was not diminished by the cj'-nical indifference printed on her face. ''The supper is served, Madame the Baroness," said she, with a respectful courtesy and a mechanical tone, and plunging into the night, swam out at her own candle, shut the door, and, unlocking her face that moment, burst out radiant, and went down beaming

;

in

still

domestic. " Partridges,

mamma " cried Laure. next ? " "Pheasants, I hope," cried the doctor, gayly. '* And after them hares to conclude with royal venison. Permit me, And he set himself to carve ladies." with zeal. Now nature is nature, and two pair of violet eyes brightened and dwelt on the fragrant and delicate food with demure "

!

What

;

desire.

For

all that,

when

St.

Aubin

offered

Josephine a wing, she declined it. "No partridge?" cried the savant,

amazement.

in utter

" Not to-day, dear friend feast

"



it is

not a

day to-day."

Ah

I

no; what was I thinking of?"

said the poor doctor.

"But you are not to be deprived," put in Josephine, anxiously. " We will not deny ourselves the pleasure of seeing you eat some." "What?" remonstrated St. Aubin, "am I not one of j'^ou ? "

The baroness had attended to every word of this. She rose from her chair, " Both you and he and said quietl}^ and Laure will be so good as to let me see you eat them." :

" But, mamma," remonstrated Josephand Laure, in one breath. '• Je le veux," * was the cold reply. These were words the baroness uttered so seldom that they were little likely to be disputed. The doctor carved and helped the

ine

young

and himself. they had all eaten a little, a discussion was observed to be going on between Laure and her sister. At last St. Aubin caught these words " It will be in vain, even you have not influence enough for that, Laure." ladies

When

:

* It

is

my

will.



"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

36

"We shall see," was the replj', and Laure put the wing- of a partridge on a plate, and rose calmly from her chair. She took the plate and put it on the little work-table by her mother's side. The others pretended to be all mouths, but they were all ears. The baroness looked in Laure's face with an air of wonder that was not very encouraging-. Then, as Laure said nothing, she raised her aristocratic hand with a courteous but decided gesture of



"That

faithful creature. Oh, no! she told me her great anxiety was lest vay mother should know." " May Heaven bless her for having so much sense as well as fidelity. The baroness must never know this till the danger is past poor thing the daily fear would shake her terribly." Josephine. "You have heard what we have been saying ?"

When



refusal.

Undaunted

little

Laure

laid

her palm

on the baroness's shouldier, and baroness herself had just spoken '' II le veut, ma mere / " * softly

said to her as firmly as the :

The baroness was staggered. Then she looked steadily in silence at the fair young face then she reflected. At last she said, with an exquisite mixture of pohteness and affection



:

" It is his daughter who has told me 'llleveut!' I obey." Laure, returning like a victorious knight from the lists, saucilj'' exultant, and with only one wet eyelash, was solemnly kissed and petted by the other two.

aristo va

!

Jacintha could not St.

tell

"That

Aubin.

me

his

will

name."

be easily

dis-

Now

as for those words of the baroness, do not be disquieted. You have put a forced interpretation on them, covered.

my dear." " Have I, doctor ? " " The baroness is an

St.

Aubin.

old

lady, conscious of her failing powers."

Josephine. "Oh, doctor. I hope not." " She stood opposite an St. Aubin.

Something

ancient tree.

of

this

sort

' You too passed through her mind are old. older than I am, but you will survive " me.' Laure. " But she said us,' not 'me.'" St. Aubin. " Oh, 'us' or 'me.' Ladies are not very exact." Josephine. "What you say is very intelligent, my friend; but somehow that was not what she meant." " It is the simplest interpretation of her :

The baroness

retired early to rest this *

evening.

She was no sooner gone than an earnest and anxious conversation took place- between the sisters. It was commenced in a low tone, not to interrupt St. Aubin's learned lucubrations. Josephine. ''Has

she

heard any-

thing?" Laure. ''About our harsh creditor about the threatened sale of Beaure-

Not that

paire?

!

St. Aubin. "Every word. Let me put away this rubbish, in which my head but not my heart is interested, and let us unite heart and hand against this new calamity. Who has threatened to s^l Beaurepaire? " Josephine. " A single creditor. But

Josephine.

Thus they loved one another in this great old falling house. Their familiarity had no coarse side. A form, not of custom but affection, it walked hand in hand with courtesy by day and night;

forbid

uneasy, but I did not make her any answer. She said (we were by the great oak-tree), ' You were here before us you " will be here after us.' " Oh, heaven, who has told her ? Can Jacintha have been so mad ? "

I

know

of.

Heaven

'

words."

"I confess it." " Can j'^ou give me any

tangible reason

for avoiding the obvious interpretation?

!

" Laure, she

Josephine. said some words to me to-day that make me very

Only when you are so well acquainted with the face and voice of an3'^

• It

is

his will,

my

mother.

"

" No.

one as

you can

seize

am with dear mamma's, shades of meaning that are

I

^

WHITE not to be conveyed to another by a bare account of the words spoken." '* This is fanciful chimerical." :

"

I feel

Laure. it

is

it

may

appear so." " Not to me, I beg" to observe: perfectly notorious,

quite simple,

and as clear as day." *' To you, possibly, enthuSt. Auhin. but I have an unfortunate ; maid siastic habit of demanding- a tangible reason for my assent to any given proposition." Laure. "It is an unfortunate habit. Josephine dear, tell me now what was the exact feeling that our mother gave you by the way she said those words." " Yes, dear. Well, then " here Josephine slightly knitted her smooth brow and said slowh^ turning her eyes inward "our mother did not intend to compare the duration of our mortal lives with that of a tree." *' Petitio principii," said the doctor,





quietly.

Plait ilf On the other hand, if she had heard our impending misfortune, would she not have been less general ? would she not have spoken to me, and not to the tree ? I think then that our dear mother had a general misgiving, a presentiment that we shall be driven from this beloved spot ; and this presentiment found words at the sight of that old companion of our fortunes ; but, even if this be the right interpretation, I cannot see her come so near the actual truth without trembling for I know her penetration ; and oh, if it were even to reach her ears that alas my dear mother." " It never shall, my little angel, it never shall; to leave Beaurepaire would kill the baroness." " No, doctor, do not say so." Laure. " Let us fight against our troubles, but not exaggerate them. Mamma would still have her daughters' love." "It is idle to deceive ourselves," re" The baroness would plied St. Aubin. not live a month away from Beaurepaire. ^^

;



!

At her age men and women hang to life by their habits. Take her away from her chateau, from the little oratory where she prays every day for the departed.

LIES.

37

from her place in the sun on the south terrace, and from all the memories that surround her here, she would bow her head and die." Here the savant, seeing a hobby-horse near, caught him and jumped on. He launched into a treatise upon the vitality

of

human

beings, wonderfully

sagacious, and misplaced. He proved at length that it is the mind which keeps the body of man alive for so great a length of time as fourscore years. learned,

He

informed them that he had in the

earlier part of his studies carefulW dis-

sected a

multitude of animals

— frogs,

men, horses, sheep, squirand- discovered no rils, foxes, cats, etc. peculiarity in man's organs to account rabbits, dogs,



for his singular longevity, except in the

brain or organ of mind. Thence he went to the longevity of men with contented minds, and the rapid decay of the careworn. He even explained to these girls why no bachelor had ever attained the full age of man, which he was obliging enough to put at one hundred and ten years. wife, he explained, is essential to vast longevity ; she is the recep-

A

tacle of half a

man's cares, and

of

two-

thirds of his ill-humor.

After many such singular windings \Qvj proper to a lecture-room, he came back to the baroness on which his heart regained the lost ascendancy over his head, and he ended a tolerably frigid discourse in a deep sigh. "Oh, doctor," cried Laure, "what shall we do." "I have already made up my mind. I shall have an interview with Perrin, the notary." "But we have offended him." " Not mortally. Besides, the baroness was in the wrong." ;

" Mamma in the wrong ? " "Excusabl3% but unquestionably. She

was impetuous out

of place.

Maitre Per-

gave her the advice, not of a delicate mind, but of a friend who had her interest at heart. He is, under great obligarin

tions to this family.

He

pay them without injury is

can

now

re-

to himself; this

a flight of gratitude of which I believe

^



"



WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

38

"Laure!" remonstrated Josephine, opening her eyes. " Reasons ? straws " cried Laure,

even a notary capable. Are you not of my opinion, mademoiselle ? " Josephine's reply was rather feminine than point-blank. "I have already been so unfortunate " as to differ once with my best friend; and she lowered her lashes and awaited her doom. " This dear poltroon," cried Laure

comical look. "And there are always as many of these straws against the truth as for it. The Jansenists have books brimful of

"speak!"

reasons.

Well, then, my friend. Monsieur Perrin does not inspire me with confidence." **

*'

Humph

against " No

have you heard anything

!

him?"

it is only what I have observed us hope I am wrong. Well, then, Laure, the man's face carries one expression when he is on his guard and another when he is not. His voice too is not frank. It is not a genuine part of himand then it self as yours is, dear doctor it is not one." is not " Diable ! has he two voices ? " ;

;



"Hallo!"



" Yes I say

!

his voice is

Artificial

?

When

and perhaps more.

room

in this

honey

he

is

— — what shall " ^is

?

" Say treacle," put in Laure. " You have said it, Laure that ;

the but out is

very word I was searching for of doors I have heard him speak very differentl3% in a voice imperious, irascible, I had almost said brutal. Ay, and the worst is that bad voice was his own ;

voice." **

How do you know

that

?

"

" I don't know how I know it, dear Something tells me." you can give a tangible *' However,

friend.

reason, of course," treacherously.

" No,

said

the

doctor,

am

not strong at Consider, I have not the adreasons. vantage of being a savant. I am but a

woman. stinct,

m}'-

friend

My

;

I

opinion of this

man

is

an

in-

not a reason."

The doctor's face was provoking. Josephine saw it, but she was one not She only smiled a little Laure fired up for her. "\ would rather trust an instinct of Josephine's than all the reasons of all the savans of France

easily provoked.

sadly.

I

cried St.

Aubin,

with a

The Jesuits have books full against them. The Calvinists and all the heretics have volumes of reasons so thick. Is it reason that teaches me to pray to the Madonna and the saints and so Josephine is right and you are !



wrong."

"Well jumped.

let



I

disdainfully.

Alas!

I

am

intimi-

dated, but not convinced."

" Your mistake is replying to her, doctor," said Josephine; "that encourages

—a

virago that rules us

her

little

iron.

Come

here,

child,

all

with

and be well and now hold

kissed for your effrontery your tongue. Tell us your plan, doctor, and you may count on Laure's co-opera;

tion as well as mine.

It is I

who

tell

you

so."

"She is right again, doctor," said Laure, peeping at him over her sister's shoulder. St.

to

Aubin, thus encouraged, explained

them that he would, without compro-

mising the baroness, write to Monsieur Perrin, and invite him to an interview. The result is certain. This harsh creditor will be paid off by a transfer of the loan, and all will be well. Meantime there is nothing to despond about it is not as if several creditors were agreed to force a sale. This is but one, and the ;

most insignificant of them all." " Is it ? I hope it may be. makes you think so ? "

"I know it, Josephine." The girls looked at one anolMer. " Oh, you have no rival to fear

My

instincts are so feeble that

What

in

me.

I

am

driven for aid to that contemptible ally. Reason. Thus it is. Our large creditors are men of property, and such men let their funds lie unless compelled to move But the small mortgagee, the them. needy man, who has, perhaps, no invest-

WHITE ment to watch but one small loan, about which he is as anxious and as noisy as a hen with one chicken he is the clamorous creditor, the harsh little egoist, who at the first possibility of losing- a crown piece would bring- the Garden of Eden to the hammer. Go then to rest, my children, and sleep calmly. Heaven watches over you, and this gray head leaves its chimeras when your happiness is in peril." "And there is no better head," said Laure, affectionately but she must add



— "when



does come out of the clouds;" and with this sauce in her very mouth she inclined her white forehead to Monsieur St. Aubin for his parting salute.* saucily

it

The young ladies retired to rest, greatly reassured and comforted by their friend's confidence, and he with a sudden change of manner paced the apartment nervously oill one in the morning. His brow was

LIES.

39

His

was

letter, the result of tolerably adroit.

much reflection,

He

deplored the baroness's susceptihinted delicately that she had in all probability already regretted it, and more broadly that he had thought her in the wrong from the first. If Monsieur Perrin shared in any degree his regret at the estrangement, there was now an opportunity for him to return with credit to his place as friend of the family. And to conclude, the writer sought a personal bility,

interview.

Let us follow this letter. It was laid on the notary's table the next afternoon. As he read it, a single word escaped his lips, " Curious " He wrote an answer immediately. St. Aubin was charmed with his reply, and its promptness. He drew the girls !

aside,

and read them the note.

They

knitted,

and his face sad, and if his confidence had been real, why, then much of it oozed away as soon as he had no one

listened acutely.

to comfort or confute.

serious offense at the baroness' s impetuosity, for which so many excused were to he made. It was in pressing indiscreetly, perhaps, her interest, that he had been so unfortunate as to give her

At one o'clock in the morning he down and wrote to the notary.

sat

* The sparring between St. Aubin and Laure de Beaurepaire was not exactly what it looks on paper at first glance. But we soon come to the limit. of the fine arts. The art of writing, to wit, tells you what people said, but not how yet "how" makes oft^a all the difference. When these two fenced in talk, the tones and the manner were full of affection and playfulness, and robbed of their barb words, which, coarsely or unkindly uttered, might have stung. Look at those two distant cats fighting. They roll over one another in turn they bite with visible fury, they scratch alternate. Tigers or theologians could do no more. In about two minutes a black head, a leaf torn out of Dr. Watts, and a tabby tail, will strew the field, sole relics of this desperate encounter. Now go nearer you shall find that in these fierce bites the teeth are somehow kept back entirely, and the scratching is tickling done with a velvet paw, not the poisoned iron ;

;

;

The fighting resolves itself into two elements, play and affection. These combatants are

claw.

never strange cats, or cats that bear each other a grudge. And this mock fighting is a favorite gambol with many animals with none more so than with men and women, especially intelligent ;

and finely tempered ones. Be careful not to do it with a fool. I don't tell you why, because the fool will

show you.

"Monsieur Perrin had never taken

pain. He now hoped Monsieur St. Aubin would show him some way of furthering those interests without annoying her. He would call either on the doctor or on the baroness at any hour that should be named. ^^

" There," cried St. Aubin, "is not that the letter of a friend, and an honest man, " or, at all events, an honest notary ? " Oh, yes but is it not too pure ? " suggested Josephine. " Such an entire abnegation of self is that natural in a notary'-, too, as you observe ? " " Childishness this is a polite note, as well as a friendly one politeness always speaks a language the opposite of egoism, and consequently of sincerity ^it is permitted even to a notary to be polite." " That is true. May I examine it ? " !





!





Josephine scanned it as if she would extract the hidden soul of each particular syllable. She returned it with a halfsigh. "I wish it had a voice and eyes.

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

40 then I could perhaps



But

let

us hope

"1 mean

to," cried the doctor, cheerwill be here himself in forty-eig-ht hours. I shall tell him to be sure and bring- his voice and his eyes with him ; to these he will add of his own accord that little pony round as a tub he goes about on another inseparable feature of the man." So the manly doctor kept up their young- spirits and beguiled their anxious hearts of a smile. '* Curious " said the notary. An enigmatical remark ; but I almost think I catch the meaning of it ; it must ^rely have had some reference to the following little scene that passed just five days before the notary received the docfully.

*'

The man



!

tor's letter.

Outside a small farmhouse, two miles from Beaurepaire, stood a squab pony, dun-colored, with a white mane and tail. He was hooked by the bridle to a spiral piece of iron driven into the house to hang visitors' nags from by the bridle. The farmer was a man generallj^ disliked and feared, for he was one of those who can fawn or bully as suits their turn; just now, however, he was in competent hands. The owner of the squab dun was talking to him in his own kitchen as superiors are apt to speak to inferiors, and as superior very seldom speaks to anybody. The farmer, for his part, was waiting his time to fire a volley of oaths at his visitor and kick him out of the house. Meantime, cunning first, he was watching to find out what could be the notary's

game. " So you talk ot selling up m.y friend the baroness ? " said Perrin, haughtily. "Well, notary," replied the other, coolly, " my half-3'eaf's interest has not been paid ; it is due this two months." *'

Have you taken any

^'Not yet;

mayor

" Because

if

you

do,

you are a ruined

man."

for the best."

but I

this afternoon,

steps

?

"

am if

going to the you have no ob-

jection" (this with a marked sneer). " You had better break your leg and stay at home.'* " Why so ? if you please."

"I'll risk that.

Haw! haw!

Your

have to grin and bear it, as we used them under the kings. They have no one to take their part against me that I know of, without it is you and you are not the man to pay other folks' friends will

;

debts, I should say."

"They have you

a friend

who

will destroy

you are so base as to sell Beaurepaire for your miserable six thousand if

francs."

" Who too '*

is

man ?

the

if

it is

not asking

much."

You

will

know

all in

good time.

Let

us speak of something else. You owe twelve thousand francs to Francois, your cousin."

Bonard changed color. " How do you know that

He prom-

?

ised faithful not to tell a soul."

" When he promised, he did not know you intended to get drunk and call his wife an impolite name." "I never got drunk, and I never called the jade an ugly name." " You lie, my man." "Well, monsieur, suppose I did; hard words break no bones ; he need not talk

—he thrashes her, the pig." " She says not.

But that is not the there are women who like to be thrashed ; but there is not one who likes point

;

to be called titles reflecting on her discre-

So Madame Brocard has given you a lesson not to injure the weak especially the weak that are strong women, to wit. This one was strong enough to make Francois sell 3"our debt to an honest man, who is ready to receive payment at this hour." "Is it a jest? How can I pay twelve thousand francs all in a moment ? Let him give me proper time, and it is not twelve thousand francs that will trouble tion.





Jacques Bonard, you know that, monsieur."

to paj'' it you must sell your horses, your chairs and tables, and the bed 3^ou sleep on." "Yes, I can yes, I can especially if I have your good word, monsieur ; and

"I know that

your

ricks,

!

!

"

:'

WHITE I

know you

will

(curse

creditor



Ten him ) !

my new known to

to one is

if

not

*'Ican." " There is a weight off my stomach. Well, monsieur, now first of all who is the man if it is not asking too much ?



'

It is I."

settled

is



it

is

" !

" Ugh " " Well, sir, what you pay me ? "

per

I am not so soft as to lend three per cent. Are you ? You bleed the baroness six per cent." " What has that to do with it ? I take what I can get. But I can't pay six per cent." "You are not required. I am not a usurer. I lend at five per cent what little I lend at all, and I'll trouble you for your signature." " No no " cried the farmer, standing at bay, " you can't do that. Three per cent is the terms of the loan. Hang it, !

but



!

man, stand to your own bargain " The notary started up like Jack in the box, with startling suddenness and !

!

is

to be done

?

Can

''That I can; but you must give me time." ''If you will give me securit}^, not else."

" And I will. What security will you have ? The notary answered this question by action. He put his hand in his pocket and drew out a parchment.

The farmer's eye

three

cent."

!

'*You?" I

interest

my money at

" There, then, it is all right. Every man in the department respects you. I'll be bound you can turn him round your finger, whoever he is."

*'

41

" Was

you." ^^Heis."

''

LIES.

energy.

twelve thousand francs " cried he, fiercely, " or I empty your barns and gut your house before you can turn round. You can't sell Beaurepaire in less than a month, but I'll sell you up in fortyeight hours." " Sit ye down, sir for Heaven's sake sit 3^e down, my good monsieur, and don't talk like that don't quarrel with an honest man for a thoughtless word. Ah here is Georges. Step in, Georges, and

" Pay me

mj'^

!

!



dilated.

" This is a bond by which you give me hold upon your Beaurepaire loan." a "Not an assignment?" gasped Bo-

!

see

me

sign



my soul

and

entrails

away

at

a sitting ugh " Five minutes more, the harsh creditor, "Not an assignment. On the contrary, a bond that prevents j'^our either the parish bully, was obsequiously holdassigning or selling your loan, or forcing, ing the notary's off stirrup. He mounted Beaurepaire to a sale penalty, twenty the squab dun and cantered off with the thousand francs in either case." parchment sword and the paper javelin and tacked toThe farmer groaned. in the same pocket now " Call a witness, and sign." gether by a pin. Bonard went to the window, opened it, and called to a man in the farmyard "Here, Georges, step this way." As he turned round from the window the first thing he saw was the notary pulling another document out of his other pocket. Paper this time instead of parchCHAPTER V. ment. The farmer's eye dilated. " Not another saints of Paradise, not Eight days after the above scene, three " he yelled. another days after the notary received St. Aubin's " This is to settle the interest nothing letter and said "Curious," came an aumore." tumn day, refreshing to late turnips, but "What interest? Ours? Why, the chilling and depressing to human hearts. nard.

!





!

!

!

!

!



i

"

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

43

and death to those of artists. A steady, down pour of rain, with g-usts of wind that sent showers of leaves whirlingfrom the orauge-colored trees. Black double-banked clouds promised twenty-four hours' moist miserj'^ and as for the sun, hang- me if you could g"uess on which side of the house he was, except by looking first at a clock, then at an almanac. Even the sorrows and cares of the deeven,

;

grew darker Even Laure, the

caying* house of Beaurepaire

and heavier

this day.

and most hopeful of the party, sat at the window, her face against the pane, and felt lead at her

g"ayest, brig-htest,

young heart. While she

sat thus, sad and hopeless, the future lot of

instinctively reading

those she loved in those double-banked clouds, her eye was suddenly attracted man of by a singular phenomenon. gigantic height and size glided along the public road, one half his huge form visible above the high palings. He turned in at the great gate of Beaurepaire, and lo the giant was but a rider with a veiled steed. Clear of the palings,

A

her knowledge." At this moment the door opened, and Josephine glided in. St. Aubin had not expected her, but he used her skillfully " But here," said he, ''is Mademoiselle de Beaurepaire come to bid you welcome to a house from which you have been too long absent. Mademoiselle, now that you have welcomed our truant friend, be so good as to describe to him the report which I only know from you." Josephine briefly told what she had heard from Jacintha, that there was one cruel creditor who threatened to sell the chateau and lands of Beaurepaire. "Mademoiselle," said the notary graveHe openly ly, " that report is true. bragged of his intention more than a week ago." " Ah we live so secluded you hear Well, Monsieur everything before us. Perrin, time was you took an interest in :

the fortunes of this





"The more to j^our credit, monsieur." " Do you happen to know what is the sum due "

to this creditor

" Give yourself no trouble on his ache will not stir from count, monsieur the door; he is Fidelity in person." St. Aubin apologized for not taking his '' But the visitor up to the baroness business is one that must be kept from ;

:

?

"

Six thousand francs."

I do.

St.

Aubin looked at Josephine triumph-

antly'-.

" One of the very smallest creditors then." ,

" The smallest of them

all," replied the

notary.

Another triumphant glance from

St.

Aubin.

"For all that," said Monsieur Perrin, thoughtfully, " I wish it had been a larger and a less unmanageable man. The other creditors could be influenced by reason, by clemency, bj'- good feeling, creditor,

but this

is

I advise

?

a

man

of iron •

;

humph — may '

.

"It will be received as a favor." " Then pay this man off at once have nothing more to do with him." His hearers opened their eyes. " Where are we to find six thousand





we do with him?"



looked at Josephine.



He the dining-room, now little used. then met the notary at the hall door and courteously invited him in. j'our pony what shall ''But stay!

famiW

"Never more than at the present moment, monsieur;" in saying this he

!

he proved to be an enormous horseman's cloak a pyramid of brown cloth with a hat on its apex, and a pon3'^'s nose protruding at one base, tail at the other. Rider's face did not show, being at the top of the cone but inside it. At the sight of this pageant Laure could hardly suppress a scream of jo3\ Knight returning from Crusades was never more welcome than this triangle of broadcloth was to her. She beckoned secretly to St. Aubin. He came, and at the sight went hastily down and ordered a huge wood fire in



!

francs

?

"

The notary this

moment

" I have not at thousand francs, but I

reflected.

six

"

;

WHITE could contribute

two thousand

six."

"

We thank you

of

the



sincerely, but

" There then I must contrive three thousand." " We cannot St. Aubin shook his head find three thousand francs." '' Then we must try and prevail on Bonard to move no further for a time ; and in the interval we must find another lender, and transfer the loan." ** Ah raj^ g-ood Monsieur Perrin, can you do this for us ? " " I can try and you know zeal goes a good way in business. I will be frank with you ; the character of this creditor gives me some uneasiness but courage all these fellows have secret histories, ;

:

!

;

!

;

that we notaries can penetrate when we have a sufficient motive to penetrate such rubbish but as it is not a matter to be secret wishes,

secret

interests,





trifled with, forgive

me

if

I bid

you and

mademoiselle an unceremonious adieu." He rose with zeal depicted on his face. " Such a day for you to be out on our service," cried Josephine, putting- up both her hands the palms outward, as if disclaiming the weather. *' If it rained, hailed, and snowed, I should not feel them in your cause, mademoiselle," cried the chivalrous notary' and he took by surprise one of Josephine's white hands, and kissed it with the deepthen made off all in a est respect ;

bustle.

Aubin followed him

to the door, and person " was gone. St. Aubin was concerned. Tlie notary was a little surprised, but he gave a shrill whistle, and awaited the result ; another, and this time a long tail came- slowly out of the Beaurepaire oak the pony's quarters followed; but, when his withers were just clear, the cold rain and wind struck on his loins, and the quadruped's bones went slowly in again. The tail had the grace to stdby out but hair is a vegetable, and vegetables like rain. The notary strode to the tree, and went in and backed " demifidelity in person " out. The pyramid of cloth reSt.

lo

!

" Fidelity

in

;

;

mounted him, and away they toddled;

.

LIES.

43

Laure, in spite of her anxiety, giggling ag-amst the window ; for why, the foreshortened animal's fore-legs being hidden by the ample folds, the little cream-colored hind legs seemed the notary's own. Meantime St. Aubin was in earnest talk with Josephine in the hall. " Well, that looks like sincerity " " Yes you did not see the signal I made you." "No what sig-nal ? why ? " !

!

!

His eye was upon you like a hawk's when he proposed to you to pay three thousand francs out of the six thousand. Ah, doctor, he was fathoming our resources. I wanted you not to lay bare • the extent of our poverty and helplessness. Oh, that eye He only said it to draw you out." " If you thought so, why did you not " stop me ? **

!

" I did

all I could to. sign twice," " Not that I observed."

I

made

j'^ou

a

Ah if it had been Laure, she would have understood it directly." "But, Josephine, be candid what sin" ister motive can this poor man have ? " Indeed I don't know. Forg-ive me my uncharitable instinct, and let us admire your reasonable sagacity. It was our smallest creditor Laure shall ask your pardon on her knees dear friend, she will not leave our mother alone be so kind as to go into the saloon then Laure will come out to me." The doctor did as he was bid and sure enough, her mother having now a companion, Laure whipped out and ran jpost"

!

:

!

;

;

;

;

haste to her sister for the news. Thus a secret entered the house of Beaurepaire a secret from which one person, the mistress of the house, was excluded This was no vulgar secrecy no disloyal, nor selfish, nor even doubtful motive mingled with it. ;



Circumstances appeared to dictate this course to tender and vigilant affection.

They saw and

obe^'^ed.

They put up

the shutters, not to keep out the light from some action that would not bear the light,

but to keep the wind of passing

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

44

trouble from visiting- the aged cheek they loved and revered and guarded. In three days the notary called again. The poor soul seemed a little downcast. He had been to Bonard and made no impression on him and to tell the truth had been insulted by him, or next door ;

to

it.

On

this

they were

all

greatly dis-

pirited.

Maitre Perrin recovered first. He brightened up all in a moment. '* I have an idea," said he; "^we shall succeed yet ay, and perhaps put all the liabilities on a more moderate scale of meantime " and here he hesiinterest "I wish you would let an old tated. friend be 3'our banker and advance you any small sums j^ou may neM for present comforts or conveniences." Laure's eyes thanked him but Josephine, a little to her surprise, put in a hasty and firm, though polite negative. The notary apologized for his ofiicious;



;

;

ness,

and said

:

not press this trifiing ofl'er of but pray consider it a permaservice nent offer which at any time you can honor me by accepting." He addressed this to Josephine with the air of a subject offering one little acorn back out of all "the woods and forests " to his sovereign. ;

of Beaurepaire

was thus

exhibiting his zeal, its clandestine friend was making a chilling discovery 3^outh and romance have to make on their road to old age and caution, namely, how much easier it is to form many plans

than to carry out one. This boiling young heart had been going to do wonders for her he adored, and for those who were a part of her. He had been going to interest the government in their misfortunes— but how ? Oh, **some wa}'' or other." Looked at closer " some way " had proved impracticable, and " the other " unprecedented, i.e., impossible.

He had

:



:

"I do

While the open friend

tense or another, two or three of the farms. He had discovered to his great joy that all the farms were underlet; that there were no leases ; so that an able and zealous agent could in a few months increase the baroness's income thirty per cent. But when he had got this valuable intelligence, what the better were they or he ? To show them that they were not so poor as they in their aristocratical incapacity for business thought themselves, he must first win their ear and how could he do this ? If he were to call at Beaurepaire, word would come down again, *'not at home to strangers until the Bourbons come back." If he wrote, the answer would be: "Monsieui*, I understand absolutely nothing of business. Be kind enough to make your communication to our man of business" who must be either incapable or dishonest, argued young Riviere, or their affairs would not be thus vilely neglected ; ten to one he receives a secret commission from the farmers to keep the rents low so no good could come of applying to him and here stepped in a little bit of self for there are no angels upon earth except in a bad novel, and the poor boy was not writing a bad novel, but acting his little part in the real world.

not been a mere dreamer in her cause, either. He had examined the whole estate of Beaurepaire, and had scientifically surveyed, on one government pre-



"No!"

said he,

"J

have found this

out perhaps she will never love me, but at least I will have her thanks, and the pride and glory of having done her and them a great service ; no undeserving person shall rob me of this, nor even share it with me." And here came the heart-breaking thing. The prospect of a formal acquaintance receded instead of advancing. In the fli'st place, his own heart interposed a fresh obstacle the deeper he fell in love the more his assurance dwindled ; and, since he found out they were so ver^'poor, he was more timid still, and they seemed to him more sacred and inaccessi;

;

ble, for

he

felt in his

own

soul

how proud

he was a pauper. The next calamity was, the young ladies never came out now. Strange to say, he had no sooner confided his love and his

and distant he should be

if

— WHITE hopes to Jacintha, than she he loved kept the house with cruel pertinacity. " Had Jacintha been so mad as to go and prattle in spite of her promise ? had the younglady's delicacy been alarmed ? was she imprisoning herself to avoid meeting one whose admiration annoyed her?" cold perspiration broke over him, whenever his perplexed mind came round to this thought. Now the poor cannot afford to lose what the rich can fling awaj^ The sight of that sweet face for a moment thrice a week was not much— ah but it was, for it was all his one bit of joy and comfort and sunshine and hope and it was gone now. The loss of it kept him at fever heat every day of his life for an hour or two before their usual time of coming out and an hour or two after it, and chill at heart the rest of the day; and he lost his color and his appetite, and fretted and pined for this one look three times a week. And she who could have healed this wound with a glance of her violet eye and a smile once or twice a week, she who without committing herself or caring a straw for him could have brought the color back to this young cheek and the warmth to this chilled heart by just shining out of doors now and then instead of in, sat at home with unparalleled barbarity and perseverance. At last one day he lost all patience. I must see Jacintha, said he, and, if she really imprisons herself to avoid me, I will leave the country I will go into the armj^ it is very hard she should be robbed of her health and her walk because I love her; and with this generous resolution the poor little fellow felt something rise in his throat and nearly choke him, till a tear came to his relief. Forgive him, ladies though a statesman, he was but a boy ^boys will cry after women as

A

!







;



children for

served this

toj'^s.

You may have

ob-

!

He





;

LIES.

45

at a considerable distance from the house. His heart gave a leap at the sight of

them.

Then he had a sudden inspiration. The park was not strictly private, at least Still it was so far private that respectable people did not make a practice of crossing it.

since the Revolution.

I will seem to meet them unexpectedlj'', thought 3"oung Riviere, and, if she smiles, I will apologize for crossing the park then I shall have spoken to her. I shall have broken the ice. He met them. Thej'- looked so loftily sad he had not the courage to address them. He bowed respectfully, they courtesied, and he passed on cursing his

cowardice.

He made a long I must see Jacintha. detour his object being to get where he could be seen from the kitchen. Meantime the following short dialogue passed between the sisters Laure. " Why, he has lost his color What a pity " Josephine. " Who, dear ? '* Laure. ''That young gentleman who passed us just now. Did you not observe how pale he has turned. He has been ill. I am so sorry." Josephine^. " Who is he ? " Laure. "1 don't know who he is ; I know what he is, though." Josephine. " And what is he ? " Laure. " He is very handsome and he passes us oftener than seems to me quite natural; and now I think of it," said Laure, opening her eyes ludicrously, '' I have a sister who is a beautiful woman and now I think of it again" opening her eyes still wider " if I do not lock her up, I shall perhaps have a rival in her affections." " Child Josephine. Moreover, he seemed to me a mere boy." Laure gave a toss of her head, and a ;

:

!

!

;

;

!

walked hurriedly up to Beaurepaire, asking himself how he should contrive an interview with Jacintha.

suspicious look at Josephine. '*0h, mademoiselle, there are forward boys as well as backward ones. But I

On his arrival there, casting his eyes over the palings, what did he see but the two j'^oung ladies walking in the park

shall

have an eye on you both." Josephine smiled ver}^ faintl.y amid so many cares she was hardly equal to what ;

;

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

46

she took for granted was a pure jest of Laura's, and their conversation returned to its usual channels. Edouard got round to the other side of the chateau, and strolled about outside the paling-s some thirty yards from the kitchen door ; and there he walked slowly about, hoping every moment to see the kitchen door open and Jacintha come out. He was disappointed and, after hanging about nearly an hour, was going away in despair, when a window at the top of the house suddenlj'' opened, and Jacintha made him a rapid signal with her hand to go nearer the public road. He obeyed ; and then she kept him waiting till his second stock of patience was nearly exhausted but at last he h^ard a rustle, and there was her comely face set between two young acacias. He ran to her. She received him with a rebuke. *' Is that the waj^ to do ? prowling in sight, like a housebreaker." " Did any one see me ? " ** Mademoiselle Laure did and, Yes what is more, she spoke to me, and asked me who you were. Of course I said I ;



!

;

know." ''Oh! didj^ou?" " Then she asked me if it was not the young monsieur who satit them the gaeme. Oh I forgot, I ought to liave told you didn't

!

that first. When they asked me about the game, I said, ' It is a young sports-r man that takes Dard out so he shot some on the baroness's land.' I was obliged to say that, you know." " Well, but you spoke the truth." "You don't mean that ^ that is odd but accidents will happen. ' And so he gave some of it to Dard for the house,' said I. But the next time you \vant me, don't stand sentinel for all the world to see make me a signal and then slip in here, and I will join you." " " signal ? ;



;

;

A

Jacintha put her hand under her apron and pulled out a dish-clout. " Hang this on that tree out there then 1 shall see it from the kitchen window so then I shall know something is up. Apropos, what is up now ? " that is up." "I am very unhappy ;

;

!



" Oh

must expect the cold fit as fit, if you will fall in love,"

3'ou

!

well as the hot

observed

"Why

Jacintha, with

a cool smile.

you come to me before, and be cheered up. What is the matter ? " "Dear Jacintha, she never comes out now. What is to become of me if I am didn't

to lose the very sight of her?

you have not been so

Surely

indiscreet as to tell

them—" "There

Do you see young man ? " " Then what is the reason?— there must be some reason. They used to walk, out

green

in

a question.

is

my

eye,

pray, pray, tell me the reason." Jacintha's merry countenance fell. "My poor lad," said she, kindh^, "don't tor-

ment

yourself, or fancy I have been such friend to you, or such a novice, as to put them on their guard against you.

an

ill

No

it is

;

the old stor}^

—want of money."

" That keeps them in-doors ? that be ? "

How can

" Well, now," said Jacintha, "

it is

just

as well you have come to-day, for if you had come this time yesterday I could not have told you, but I overheard them yesternight. My son, it is for want of clothes." Rivierie groaned,

and looked aghast at

her.

" cried the faithful servant— so, or I shall give way, I know I shall nor don't mistake me either they have plentj' of colored dresses; old ones, but very good ones; but it is their black dresses tliat are worn shabby; and they can't afford to buj'' new and all the old dresses are colored, and it goes against their hearts to go flaunting it. They were crying last night to think they could not afford even to mourn for their father, but must come out in colors, for want of a little money." "Jacintha, they will break nay heart." " So it seems they have settled not to go out of the grounds at all. Thus the3'' meet nobody so now they can wear their " Don't

!

" don't look at me ;



;

;

mourning

Ah, from most women, that can't forget the dead too quick, and come flaring out again. And to-morrow is her birthday. I mind the time there

my

son,

till it is

how

quite threadbare.

different

!

WHITE was one beautiful new gown sure

to be

laid out on her bed that day, if not two. Times are sadly changed with us, mon-

sieur."

" To-raorrow

is

her birthday ?

"Yes!"

"

!

!

was out, away bustled Perrin. was about an hour after this Josephine was reading to the baroness, and Laure and she were working when in came Jacintha and made a courtesy. tor



It



**The tree

is

come,

my ladies."

" What tree ? " inquired the baroness. " For mademoiselle to plant, according Dard to custom. It is her birthday. has brought it it is an acacia this time." ;

oness.

47

where it will be choked up when it is a big tree." " Oh, no, Jacintha," cried Laure, '* we will plant it to the best advantage." Then one advised Josephine to plant it on the south terrace another preferred the turf oval between the great gate and the north side of the chateau. When they had said their say, to their surprise Josephine said rather timidly, " I should like to plant it in the Pleasance." " In the Pleasance Why, Josephine ? " "It will take some time to plant," explained Josephine. " But it will take no more time to plant it where it will show than in the Pleasance," cried Laure, half angrily. But, Laure, the Pleasance is sheltered from the wind," said Josephine. Dard gave a snort of contempt. "It is sheltered to-day because the chateau happens to be between the wind and it. But the wind will not be always in that quarter; and the Pleasance is open to more winds than any other part, if you go to that." " Dear mamma, may I not plant it in " the Pleasance? " Of course you may, my child." " And who told you to put in your word!" cried Jacintha to Dard. "You are to take up your spade and dig the hole where mademoiselle bids that is what 3'-ou are here for, not to argufy." "Laure, I admire the energy of that girl's character," remarked Josephine, languidly, as they all made for the Plea;



Good-by, Jacintha my heart is full. good-by, loyal heart," and he There kissed her hastily, with trembling lips. *' Poor boy !— don't lose my clout, what" ever you do She uttered this caution with extreme anxiety, and at the top of her voice, as he was running off in a strange flutter. The next day the notary hustled in with a cheerful air. He had not a moment to stay, but just dropped in to say that he thought matters were going well and that he should be able to muzzle Bonard. After this short interview, which was with the young ladies only, for the do,c*'

"The

LIES.

faithful creature," cried the bar-

" She has thought

of this

— and

forgot it. There, bring me m}^ shawl and hood. I will not be absent from the ceremony." " But, dear mamma," put in Josephine, " had not you better look at us from the window, there is such a cold air out today ? " "It is not cold enough to chill a mother's love. My first-born " cried the old lady, with a burst of nature " I see her in her cradle now. Sweet little

we

!

;

cherub." In a few minutes they were all out in the garden. Josephine was to decide where she would plant her tree. " Only remember, mademoiselle," said Jacintha, "it will not always be little like it is now. You must not put it

!

'

'



sance.

" Where will you have it ? " asked Dard roughly. "Here, I think, Dard," said Josephine sweetly.

Dard grinned malignantly, and drove " It will never be much bigger than a stinging-nettle," thought he, "for the roots of the oak have sucked ever}'- atom of heart out of this." His black soul exulted secretl3^ The.y watched his work. "You are not cold, mamma ?" asked Josephine anxiously. " No no " said the baroness. "There is no wind on this side of the house. Ah in his spade.

!

!

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

48

now

I see, ray Josephine.

good daug-hter

—who

will

I have a very never shine in

horticulture."

stood by Dard, inspectingthe tliree ladies stood together watching- him at the distance of a few feet on their right, but a little behind them, was the great oak. Close behind them was a lemon tree and its mould in an immense tub the tub was rotting at the sides. Over the mould was a little moss here and there. Now, at the beginning of this business, the excitement of the discussion, and choosing the spot, and setting Dard to work, had animated the baroness as well But now, for some as her daughter. time Dard had all the excitement to himself. They had only to look on and think while he wrought. '' Oh, dear," cried Laure, suddenly, " mamma is crying. Josephine, our mother is crying " *' Ah " cried Josephine, " I feared this. I did not want her to come out. Oh, my mother my mother "

Jacintha

his

work

;

;

;

!

!

!

"My *'\t

is

!

children," sobbed the baroness,

natural.

verj'^

member how

I

cannot but

re-

we have

planted a child's birthday and kept the poor tree not as now. Those were on earth then that have left us and gone to God. Many friends stood around us how warm their hands, how friendly their voices, how Yet they have truthful their eyes often



!

has shaken even now stripping off your leaves, old friend. These Oh no thanks to tears are not for me God and the Virgin, I know whither I am going, and whom I shall meet again, I care not how soon but it is to think I must leave my darlings behind me witliout a friend, my tender lambs in a world " of foxes and wolves without a friend "My mother, we have friends! We have the dear doctor." " A savant, Laure, a creature more a woman than a woman you will have to take care of him, not he of you." " We have our own love did ever a sister love another as I love Josephine ? "

abandoned

them

off

us.

Adversitj'^

as the frost

is

!

!

;

!

;

!

" No " said Josephine. " Yes I love you as much." " Asto that, yes, you will fall in one another's arms," said the baroness. " Ah I do ill to weep this day; my children, suffer me to compose mj^self." And the baroness turned round, and applied her !

!

I

handkerchief to her eyes. Her daughters withdrew a step or two in the opposite direction for in those days parents, even the most affectionate, maintained a ;

marked

superiority, and the above was a hint their mother would be alone a

moment. They waited

respectfully for her orders

to rejoin her.

The order did come, and

in

a tone that surprised them. " My children, come here

— both

of

you."

They found the baroness poking among the moss with the point of her ebony crutch.

" This is a purse, and Laure, nor yours, is it ? "

The two

it

is

not yours,

enough, the green moss in the tub a green silk purse. They eyed it like startled deer a moment, and then Laure pounced on it and took it up. "Oh, how heavy!" she cried. Jacintha and Dard came running up; Laure poured tlie contents into her hand, ten gold pieces of twenty francs each new shining gold pieces. Jacintha gave a scream of joy, a sort of victorious

there

laj^

girls looked, and, sure

among

:

war-whoop.

"Luck

turned," cried she, with jo}'Laure stood with the gold pieces glittering in her pink white palm, and her face blushing all over and beaming, and her eyes glittering with excitement and pleasure. Their amazeis

ful superstition.

ment was great. " And here is a paper," cried Josephine, eagerly, bending over the moss and taking up a small piece of paper folded she ;

opened all

;

it

plate

it

rapidly,

and showed

it

them

contained these words, in a copper-

hand

:

''From a friend

—in part payment

of

a great debt."

And now

all

of a

sudden Josephine

'

— WHITE beg-an to "blush and gradually not only her face but her neck blushed all over, and even her white forehead g-lowed like a rose. "Who could it be?" that was the question that echoed on all sides. " It The baroness solved it for them ;

:

Aubin." " Oh, mamma

is St.

he has not ten

!

g^old

LIES.

49

"Madame

the baroness," said he,

"I

have been your friend and pensioner nearly twenty years if by some strange chance money were to come into my hands, I should not play you a childish trick like this of which you seem to suspect me. I have the right to come to you and say, "My old friend, here I bring you back a small part of all I owe ;

you."

pieces."

"Who

knows? he has perhaps found some bookseller who has bought his work on insects."

Laure

"I

cannot think this is our dear doctor's doing. It is odd, too, his being' out of the way at said

;

knew him anywhere but at his books till two. Hush hush !— here he comes let us circumvent him on this hour; I never

!

;

the spot

:

this is fun."

My friend my !

friend

!

I

was stupid

;

our secret friend ? may Heaven bless him " "Let us reflect," said the doctor. "Ah! to be sure. I would lay my life " it is he us then

who

is

me the purse," said the baroness, you, Jacintha and Dard, recom-

When the doctor came up, he found Dard at work, Jacintha standing- by him, and the ladies entirely occupied in lookThe baroness explained to him ing- on. '

g-oing-

Who ? "

"A

very honest man, whom you have treated harshly, madame ; it is Perrin, the notary It was the baroness's turn to be surprised.

"I

mence your work."

on.

siderable interest in

!

"

!

" Give

what was

" tell

!

mamma,"

'•'No,

"and

"

He showed

con-

may

as

madame, that

well

confess

"I am as

it.

Presently the baroness put her hand in her pocket, and g-ave her daughters a look four eyes were instantly leveled at the doctor's face. Stand firm, doctor ; if there is a crevice in your coat of mail, those eyes will pierce it. "By the by," said the baroness, with perfect nonchalance, " you have dropped your purse here we have just picked it up " and she handed it him. "Thank you, madame," said he, and he took it carelessly ; " this is not mine \t is too heavy and, now I think of it," continued the savant, with enviable simplicity, " I have not carried a purse this twenty years. No I put my silver in my right waistcoat-pocket, and my gold in my left ; that is, I should, but I never have any." " Doctor, on your honor, did you not leave this purse and this paper there ?" The doctor examined the paper. Meantime Laure explained to him what had ;

;

;



!

grateful as possible," said baroness, with a fine and scarcely perceptible sneer.

the

" Laure," said Josephine, " it is curious, but Monsieur Perrin was here for a minute or two to-day and reallj'^ he did not seem to have anything particular to say." " There " shouted the doctor " there he came to leave the purse. And in doing so he was only carrying out an intention he had already declared." " Indeed " said the baroness, " He offered to advance money in small sums an offer that of course was deSo he was driven to this maneuclined. There are honest hearts among the ver. ;



!

(D)

I

!

;

notaries."

While the doctor was enforcing

his

on the baroness, Josephine and Laure slipped away round the house. " Who is it ? " said Laure. " It is not the doctor; and it is not Perrin of course not. But who is it ? " views



"Laure, don't you think

occurred.

you,

to

have lately had more than one interview with Perrin, and that, although he is naturally hurt at the severity with which you treated him, his regard for you is undiminished." I

it

is

some

" "

"

"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

60

who has ments?" one

^'Clearlj'-,

and therefore not

a

no-

tary." ''Laure, dear, might it not be some person who has done us some wrong-, and " is perhaps penitent ? "Such a ''Certainly," said Laure. person might make restitution one of our tenants, or creditors, you mean, I suppose; but the paper says 'a friend.' Why a debtor Stay, it says a debtor



!

!

Down with enigmas ? " *'

" So, then, I said to him, and he never came back." " How could he come here

at all events delicate senti-

Laure, dear, think of some one that

might—" "I can't.

I am quite at a loss." " Since it is not the doctor, nor Monsieur Perrin, might it not be for, after all, he would naturally- be ashamed to appear before me." "Before you ? " " Yes, Laure, is it quite certain that it might not be "Who?" asked Laure, nervously, catching a glimpse now. " He who once pretended to love me " " Camille Dujardin ? " " It was not I who mentioned his name," cried Josephine hastily. Laure turned pale. "Oh, mon Dieu ! mon Dieuf" she " She loves that man still." cried. "No no! no!"





!

— —a traitor

'

I love

?

you

*

a deserter

" !

" It is not true it is not in his nature inconstancy may be. Tell me that he never reall}^ loved me, and I will believe you but not that he is a coward. Let me weep over my past love, not blush for it." "Past? You love him to-day as you did three years ago " No I tell you I do not. I love no one. I never shall love anyone again." "But him. It is that love which turns your heart against others. You love him, dearest, or why should you fancy our secret benefactor could be Camille? " " Whj'^ ? Because I was mad because it is impossible ; but I see my folly. JLict us go in, my sister." " Go, love, I will follow you but don't you care to know who I think left the purse for us ? " "No," said Josephine, sadly and doggedly she added with cold nonchalance, "I dare say time will show; " and she went slowly in, her hand to her head. " Her birthday !

!

;

!

!

!

;

;

1

!

"You

him just the same as ever. wonderful— it is terrible the power this man has over you over your judgment as well as your heart." " No for I believe he has forgotten my very name don't you think so ? " "Dear Josephine, can you doubt it?" " Forgive me." " Come, you do doubt it ? " Oh,

it

love

is



CHAPTER



!

;

VI.

" I WILL see her tree planted," thought Laure, "for she has forgotten it, and everything, and ever^'body but that And she ran off to join the group. Turning the corner rapidly, she found and, above Jacintha suspiciously near away all, walking away toward the tree



:

:

"I

do."

"

"Why ? for what reason ? " Because the words he said to me as parted at that gate lie still at my heart and oh, mj' sister, the voice we love seems the voice of truth itself. He said, 'I am to join the army of the Pyrenees, so fatal to our troops; but say to me what you never yet have said, "Camille, I love you " and I swear I

we

:



will

come back

alive.'

from where ? Laure burned with anger, and, as she passed Jacintha, she wheeled about and gave her a look like red lightning. It came like a slap in the face. Jacintha, meantime, had got ready an amazing dogged, unconscious face "

And

o'er the impassive ice the lightnings play."

This gallant and praiseworthy^ effort was but partially successful. She could

"

WHITE

;:

LIES.

51

And so these two parted without a word openly uttered on either side about that which was uppermost in both their

them in a basket, covered them with a napkin, and called on M. Edouard Riviere at his lodging. She was ushered into that awful presence ; and, so long as the servant was in hearing, all her talk was about the fruit she had brought him in return for his game. The servant being gone, she dropped the mask. " Well, it is all right ? " said she, smiling and winking. " What is all right ? " " They have got the purse " " Have they What purse I cfon't know what you allude to." " No, of course not, Mr. Innocence you did not leave a purse full of gold up " at Beaurepaire "Well I never said I did: purses full of gold are luxuries with which I am little acquainted." "Very well," said Jacintha, biting her lip; "then you and I are friends no longer, that is all." " Oh, yes, we are." "No if you can't trust me, you are no friend of mine ; ingrate to try and de-

minds.

ceive me.

command her

features, but not her blood: burn her cheek under the fire

she

felt it

of

Laure's

e3'e.

And

in

the evening-,

when Laure suddenly beckoned

to her,

a signiflcant way, " I want to speak to you, Jacintha," the faithful domestic felt like giving" way at the knees

and said

in

and sinking down flat so she stood up like Notre Dame outwardly, and wore an expression of satisfaction and agreeable expectation on her impenetrable mug. Laure drove in an eye. ;

Who

put that purse there ? " she asked in a half-threatening tone. ''Mademoiselle Laure, I don't know, but I have my suspicions and if mademoiselle will give me a few days, I think I can find out for sure." '' How many days ? because I am im"

;

patient."

"Say a *'

fortnight, mademoiselle."

That

a long time ;

is

well,

it

is

agreed."

Jacintha, "I am I can find that out, she

"Come," thought well out of

it

:

if

me

and it is a me, for I know who left the purse but I wasn't going to tell her that all in a moment." Now Jacintha, begging her pardon, did not know ; but she strongly suspected young Riviere of being the culwon't give

it

for listening

;

fair bargain, especially for ;

prit

who had invented



this

new

sort of

burglary breaking into honest folk's premises in the dead of night, and robbing them of their poverty, instead of their wealth, like the

good old-fashioned

burglars.

She waited

expecting

every

to see her dish-clout waving from the tree at the back, and to hear him tell her of his own accord how cleverly he had done the trick.

No. clout.

after

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

I

know

it

was you " !

you know, why ask me ? " retorted Edouard, sharply. "Better snap my nose off, had you " Well,

if

not ? " said " Confess it

Jacintha,

reproachfully.

odd your not showing more curiosity about it. Looks as if you knew all about it, eh "But I am curious, and I wish to Heaven you would tell me what it is all about, instead of taking it into your head is

?.

that I

know already."

"Well, I will." So Jacintha told him

all about the baroness finding the purse, and on whom

had fallen. " I wish it had been J," said Edouard " but tell me, dear, has it been of service, has it contributed to their comfort ? that is the principal thing not who gave their suspicions

quietly,

day

Day

!

!

day passed away, and no

The fortnight was melting, and

Jacintha's patience. She resolved and one morning she cut two bunches of grapes, and pulled some nectarines, put :



it."

On this Jacintha reflected, and fixing " Unher gray eye on him she said :

luckily there

were just two pieces two

few."

"What "

No

a pity." one of my ladies ever buys a new

— —

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

52

dress without the others having one too

now they found g-old pieces to

it

give

:

would take two more

my

three ladies a

new

mourning each. So the money is put by till they can muster the other two." ''What, then," cried Edouard, ''I must not hope to see them out again any the more for this money ? " " No you see it was not quite enough. suit of

!

Riviere's countenance

fell.

*'Well," said Jacintha, assuming a candid tone. " I see it was not you, but reall3^ at first I suspected you." "It is nothing to be ashamed of, if I had done it." **No! indeed. How foolish to suspect you, was it not ? You shall have the grapes all the same." *' Oh, thank you they come from Beaurepaire ? " *' Yes. Good-by. Don't be sad. They will come out again as soon as they can afford the mourning " she added, with sudden warmth, " you have not lost my " clout ? " No no " :

;

!

!

You had

better give it me back then be at ease." " No, excuse me ; it is my only way of getting a word with you." **

:

my mind

:

:

made up my mind not at

" I don't know why he should face it out like that with me if it was he. Ah but he would have been jealous, and a deal more inquisitive if it was not he. Well, any way I have put him off his guard, and won't I watch him If it is he, I'll teach him to try and draw the wool over Jacintha's eyes, and she his !

!



^the monster." Fortune co-operated with these malignant views. This very evening Dard declared himself that is, after proposing by implication and probable inference for the last seven years, he made a direct offer of his hand and digestive organs. Now this gave Jacintha great pleasure.



all

events

to

marry at

my mistress

till

all

can spare

me."

''Gammon!" what they

all

shouted Dard, "that say."

is

" Well, what everj'body says must be true," said Jacintha, equivocating unworthily. " Not unless they stick to it," objected Dard. " And that is a song they all drop at the church door, when they do get a chance." " Well, I am not in such a hurry as to snap at such a small chance," retorted Jacintha, with a toss of her head. So then the polite swain had to mollify her.

"Well, Dard," said

she,

"one good

turn deserves another if I am to marry you, what will you do for me ? " Dard gave a glowing description of what he would do for her as soon as she :

was

his wife.

She

will

" Why, you have never used it." " But I may want to any day." Jacintha, 51s she went home with her empty basket, knitted her black brows, and recalled the scene, and argued the matter pro and con.

friend

She could have kissed the little fellow on the spot. So she said, in an off-hand way " Well, Dard, if I were to take any one, it should be you but I have pretty well

point

him know that was not the what would he do for her first.

let :

He would

do anything

—everything.

We do know When

the blood burns how prodig-al the heart Lends the tongue vows. Hamlet.

This brought the contracting parties to an understanding. First, under a vow of secrecy, she told

him 3'oung Riviere was in love with Joand she was his confidante then she told him how the youth had insulted her by attempting to deceive her about the purse and, finally, Dard must watch his movements by night and day, that between them they might catch him out. Dard made a wry face dolus latet in sephine,

;

;

generatibus [free translation " anj'-thing means nothing "] when he vowed to do anything, everything, what not, and such small phrases, he never intended to do anything in particular but he was in for ;

:

it

;

and

and spy were added to odd jobs. For the latter office

sentinel

his little





;

WHITE his apparent stolidity qualified him,

and

so did his petty but real astuteness moreover, he was daily primed by Jacintha a good soul, but no Nicodema. Meantime St. Aubin upheld Perrin as the secret benefactor, and bade them all observe that since that day the notary had never been to the chateau. The donor, whoever he was, little knew the pain he was inflicting- on this distressed but proud family; or the hard battle that ensued between their necessiThe ten gold ties and their delicacy pieces were a perpetual temptation, a



!

!

LIES.

53

But who can tell whence comes the dew ? Science is in two minds about that. Then let me go with the Poets, who say it comes from Heaven we shall not go far wrong assigning any good thing :

to that source.

even so that sweet word " friend " dropped like the dew from Heaven on

And

these afflicted ones. So they looked the potent gold away from themselves, and took the kind slip Aristo va. of paper to their hearts. The fortnight elapsed, and Jacintha

daily conflict.

was no

The words that accompanied the donation offered an excuse, and their poverty enforced it. Their pride and dignity op-

Laure conceded

posed

it

;

but these bright bits of gold

them many a sharp pang. The figures Jacintha laid before

cost

Riviere imaginary. mere portion purely were of the two hundred francs would have enabled the poor girls to keep up appearances with the outside world, and yet to mourn their father openl5^ And it went through and through those tender, simple hearts to think that they must be disunited even in so small a thing as dress that, while their mother remained in her weeds, they must seem no longer to share her woe. The baroness knew their feeling, and felt its piety, and yet must not say. Take five of these bits of gold, and let us all look what we are one. Yet in this, as in everything else, they came to be all of one mind. They resisted, they struggled, and with a wrench thej'" conquered day by day. At last, by general consent, they locked up the tempter and looked at it no more. But the little bit of paper met a kinder fate. Laure made a little frame for it, and it was kept in a drawer in the salon, and often looked at and blessed. Their mother had despaired of human friendship, and with despondency on her lips she liad found this paper with the sacred word "friend " written on it it fell all in a moment on their aching hearts. They could not tell whence it came this blessed word.

A

;



:

wiser.

She had to beg a respite. it with an austere brow,

smiling inwai*dly.

Meantime Dard, Jacintha's

little

odd

gardener, lover, and all that, wormed himself with rustic cunning into the statesboy's confidence. sentinel,

sp}'',

Treachery met

its

retribution.

The

statesboy made him his factotum i.e., yet another set of little odd jobs fell on him. He had always been struck by but now what their natural variety with Jacintha's and what with Riviere's they seemed infinite. At one hour he would be holding a long chain while Riviere measured the lands at another he would be of Beaurepaire set to pump a farmer. Then it would be. " Back, Dard " this meant he was to stand in a crescent while Edouard wrote a long calculation or made a sketch upon him, compendious writing;

:

!

desk.

Then

oh, luxury of luxuries, he, the lazthe human race, though through the malice of fate the hardest worked, had to call citizen Riviere in the morning At night after all his toil he could count upon the refreshment of being scolded by Jacintha because he brought home the wrong sort of information, and had not the talent to coin the right. He did please her twice though ; the first time was when he told her they were measuring the lands of Beaurepaire and again when he found out the young citizen's salary, four hundred francs on the first of every month. " That brat to have four hundred francs iest of

!

;





""

WOBKS OF CHARLES READE.

54

a month " cried Jacintha. " Dard, I will give you a good supper to-night." Dard believed in her affection for a moment, for w^ith one of his kidne^^ the proof of the pudding, etc. '' And while I am cooking it here is a little job for you to fill up the time." !



do we? When shall we you at the chateau ? " " As soon as I have good news to bring."

selves praised,

see

And

Perrin, anxious to avoid such a shower of compliments, spurred the dun, and cantered away.

.''Ugh!" Jacintha had blacked twenty yards of and cut down half a dozen bells that were never used now. "You shall put them up again when times mend," said she. All Dard had to do now was to draw a wide magic circle all around the lemontree, and so fix the bells that they should be out of sight, and should ring if a foot came against the invisible string. This little odd job was from that night incorporated into Dard's daily existence. He had to set the trap and bells at dusk every evening, and from that moment till bedtime Jacintha went about her work with half her mind out of doors, half in, and her ear on full cock. One day St. Aubin met the notary am.bling. He stopped him, and, holding up string,

his finger, said playfully

We have found you out." The notary turned pale. "

is

is

push-

none the

This explanation completed the notary's

!

"

selle ?

" Ah, yes

" Then don't —^you must rise directly." " Must I ? Why ? Ah the chateau is !

!

on

fire

!

!

!



!

Aubin, warming. The notary bowed. " They cannot profit by your liberality, but they feel it deeply. And j^ou will be

are a worthy

man,"

St.

rewarded in a better world. It is I who tell you so." The notary muttered indistinctly. He was a man of moderate desires would have been quite content if there had been no other world in perspective. He had studied this, and made it pay did not sometimes feared a desire a better ;





worse.

how

said Monsieur St. Aubin,

it is

;

!

!

" Behold,

"Ah!"





" That

see



" No no great news. I may be mistaken, but I don't think I am I am sure not, however." " Ah the purse the purse " "No other thing. Listen, mademoiselle. Dard has watched a certain person this month past, by my orders. Well, mademoiselle, last night he got his pay four hundred francs and what do you think, he told Dard he must be called an hour before daybreak. Something must " he up something is up

cried

"But you

" !



mj^stification.

we do not

like to

"I

hear our-

VII.

" Mademoiselle Laure " "Who is that?" "Me, mademoiselle!" " And who is me ? " " Jacintha. Are you sleepy, mademoi-

!

"Oh," cried the doctor, "this ing sensibility too far." The notary stammered. " A good action done slyly less a good action."

CHAPTER

when

did

thing

is

me

/ am up you know

!

.

"

!

cried

all this ?

" Only

since last night."

"Why

didn't

you

Laure.

You good

tell

me

girl,

" last night,

then?" " I had more'

sense. You would not have slept a wink. I haven't. Mademoiwhy, the selle, there is no time to spare sun- will be up in a few minutes. How quick could j'ou dress to save your life ? " "m asked Jacintha, a little fretfullj^ " half an hour? "In half a minute," cried Laure; "fly and get Josephine up there will be the ;

;

;

struggle

!

"

WHITE Laure dressed herself furiously, and glided to Josephine's room. She found her lang-uidly arrang-ing- herself in the usual style. Laure flew at her like a tiger-cat, pinned her and hooked her, and twisted her about at a rare rate. Josephine smiled and j^awned. While the sprightly Hebe was thus expediting the languid Venus, a bustle of feet was heard overhead, and down came Jacintha red as fire. " Oh, mesdemoiselles I have been on the leads. There is somebodj'^ coming from the village I spied from behind the chimney. There is not a moment to lose the sun is up, too." " But I am not dressed, my girl." !





"Then you must come undressed," said Jacintha, bruskly.

should come undressed," **You have not half fastened me. There, don't let me detain you go without me." *' Hear to that " remonstrated Jacin" and it is tha for her the man does *'

as

I feel

if

I

said Josephine, quietly.



!

;

it all."

for you. Is that look at yourself in the glass, and that will explain all. No, don't, or we shall be too late. Now, ladies, come to your hiding-place." " What are we to hide ? " " Why, you don't think he will do it, if he sees you, mademoiselle. Besides, how are you to catch him unless I put !

wonderful

?

You

!

ambush ? " "Oh, you good in

" Here, then,

— this

is

LIES.

55

you are dressed, demand an explanation and lend me a pin."



"I mean one 3'oung lady alongside another young lady has the courage of fifteen separate."

Jacintha

now took

the conduct of the young mistresses on tiptoe to the great oak-tree. " In with you, my ladies, and as still as mice." They cast a comic look at one another, and obej'ed the general. "Now," said Jacintha, "if it is all right, I shan't stir; if it is all wrong, expedition.

She

led her

come and

I shall

Heaven, there

is

Mother

you.

tell

your blind up



if

of

he sees

that, he will know j^ou are up. I fly to draw it down adieu, mesdemoiselles." " She is not coming back, Josephine ? " "No, my sister." " Then my heart beats, that is all.



Also, imagine us stranger " Such a phrase

popping

out

on

a

!

!

—my sister

!

"

'

"

" It popped out, m^-^ sister " Before we even think

!

of anything be so kind as to fasten one or two of these hooks properly should we really decide to charge the foe, it would be well to have as little disorder in our own lines as possible ; " and Josephine's lip made a little curl that was inestimably beautiful. Laure obeyed. During the process, Josephine delivered herself, in a faint else,

;

" For her ? " " For me ? " '* Yes mademoiselle,

you

;

is

girl," cried Laure. one that originates ideas

fun."

" I would rather dispense with that part of her idea," said Josephine. "What can I say to one I do not know, even if I catch him which I hope I shall not ? " " Oh, we have not caught him yet," " and, if you do, it won't said Jacintha be 'I,' it will be *we.' You will be as bold as lions when you find yourselves



;

two to one, and on your own ground. One and one make fifteen " " One and one make fifteen ? Laure, !

sort of

way,

of

what

follows

:

"See, nevertheless, how hard it is for our sex to resist energy. Jacintha is our servant but she has energy and decision this young woman, my supposed inferior, willed that I should be in an absurd position what is the consequence ? A minute ago I was in bed now I am here and the intervening events are a blank " (a little yawn). "Josephine," said Laure, gravely, "such small talk is too f^rful in this moment of horrible agitatijf. A sudden thought How come you to be so frightfully calm and composed, you, the greater poltroon of the two hy ever so much ? " ;

;





!

"

By

a hair's breadth, for instance."



" I see you have decided not to move from this ambush, come v/hat may. Double coward and traitress, that is why



"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

56

cool. I flutter because at bottom brave, because I mean to descend like an eagle on him and fall dead with

you are I

;

am



frig-ht at his feet."

"Be

tranquil

—nobody

is

coming

—be

What ground have we

reasonable.

supposing any one

come here

will

for this

morning?" "Josephine,"

" that

girl

cried

Laure,

eagerly,

knows more than she has told in earnest. Depend upon it,

us; she is as she says, there is something up. Kiss me, dear, that will give you courage oh how my heart beats, and remember ' one and one make— how many ? " How many figures do one cipher added to anoth hush hush " cried Josephine, in a loud, agitated whisper, and held up a quivering hand, and her glorious bosom began to heave ; she pointed several times in rapid succession westward through the tree. In a moment Laure had her eye glued to a little hole in the tree. Josephine had instinctivelj'^ drawn back from a much larger aperture, through which she feared she could be seen. "Yes," cried Laure, in a trembling whisper. figure stood in the park, looking over the little gate into the Pleasance. Josephine kept away from the larger aperture through which she had caught a glimpse of him. Laure kept looking through the little hole, and back at Josephine, alternately ; the figure never !

'



!

!

A

moved. The suspense lasted several minutes. Presently, Laure made a sudden movement, and withdrew from her peep-hole and at the same moment Josephine could just hear the gate open.

The

girls

instinct

in the center of the tree, but did not dare

After a

while, LaurdiiPentured cautiously to her

peep-hole again ; but she recoiled as if shot he was walking straight for the oak-tree. She made a terrified signal to Josephine accordingly. He passed slowly out of sight, and the next time she peeped she could no longer tell where he was. ;

Then the cautious Josephine



instead.

wiped its brow with a handkerchief had walked fast, poor thing The next moment it was awa3\ Sic transit gloria mundi. They looked atone another and panted. They dared not before. Then Laure, with one hand on her heaving bosom, shook her little white fist viciously at where the figure must be, and perhaps a comical It

it

!

desire of vengeance stimulated her curios-

She now glided through the fissure a cautious panther from her den and noiseless and supple as a serpent began She soon to wind slowly round the tree. Her came to a great protuberance. her lithe bright e^^e peeped round it body worked into the hollow, and was invisible to him she was watching. Josephine, a 3'ard behind her, clung also to the oak, and waited with glowing eye and cheek for signals. The cautious visitor h^-d surveyed the ity.

came together by one

to speak, scarce to breathe.

the side of the east fissure, and Laure squinted through the little hole in case he should come into sight again. While thus employed, she felt a violent pinch, and Josephine had seized her by the shoulder and was dragging her into one corner at the side of the east fissure. They w^re in the very act of crouching and flattening each into her own corner, when a man's shadow came slap into the tree between them, and there remained. Each put a hand quick and hard against her mouth, or each would have screamed out when the shadow joined them, forerunner, no doubt, of the man himself. They glared down at it, and crouched and trembled they had not bargained for this ; they had hidden to catch, not to be caught. At last they recovered sufficient composure to observe that this shadow, one half of w^hich lay on the ground, while the head and shoulders went a little way up the wall of the tree, represented a man's profile, not his front The figure, in short, was standing face. between them and the sun, and was contemplating the chateau, not the tree. Still, when the shadow took off its hat to Josephine, she would have screamed if she had not bitten her plump hand

listened at

like

;

;

—a WHITE ground, had strolled with mock carelessness round the oak, and was now safe at He was seen to put his hand his g'oal. in his pocket, to draw something' out and drop it under the lemon-tree ; this done. he was heard to vent a little innocent chuckle of intense satisfaction but of For, the very moment brief duration. she saw the purse leave his hand, Laure made a rapid signal to Josephine to wheel round the other side of the tree, and, starting- together, with admirable concert, both the daughters of Beaurepaire swooped on hini from opposite sides.

His senses were too quick, and too

much on the alert not to hear the rustle the moment they started but it was too ;

They did not walk up to him, or even run. They came so fast they must, I think, have fancied they were running away instead of charging. He knew nothing about their past tremors. All he saw or heard was rustle, then a flap on each side, as of great wings, and two lovely women were upon him with angelic swiftness. ** Ah " he cried out, with a start of terror, and glanced from the first comer, Laure, to the park. His instinctive idea was to run that way. But Josephine was on that side, caught the look, and put up her hand, as much as to say, *' You can't pass here." In such situations, the mind works quicker than lightning. He took off his " Come hat, and stammered an excuse late then.



!

:

But Laure pounced and held it up to Josephine.



"

LIES.

57

CHAPTER Vm. The moment our heroines, who, in that desperation which is one of the occasional forms of cowardice, had hurled themselves on the foe, saw they had caught a Chinese and not a Tartar, flash the quick-witted poltroons exchanged a streak of purple lightning over the abashed and drooping head, and were two lionesses of valor and dignity in less than half a



moment. It was with the quiet composure of lofty and powerful natures that Josephine

opened on him. a little wince when the

He gave

" Compose yourself, monsieur and be who you are." Edouard must answer. Now he could not speak through his hands; and he ;

so good as to tell us

could not face a brace of lionesses so he took a middle course, removed one hand, and, shading himself from Josephine with • the other, he gasped out " I am— my name is Riviere and I— ;

;

I— Oh,

ladies

"I am answer.

so confused, or I could perhaps

Mademoiselle,

don't

on the purse,

have an idea

caught. His only chance now was to bolt for the great gate and run but it was not the notary it was a poor little fellow who lost his presence of mind, or perhaps thought it rude to run when a lady told him to stand still. All he did was to crush his face into his two hands, round which his cheeks and neck now blushed red as blood. Blush? the j'-oung women could see the color rush like a wave to the very roots of his hair and the tips of his fingers.



"

!

"Don't be frightened," said Laure, with an air of imperial clemency, " we are not very angry." ''Ah! thank you, mademoiselle." *' 80," resumed Josephine, "tell us what interest have you in the fortunes of the Baroness de Beaurepaire ? "

to look at the oak."

He was

first

rich tone struck his ear.

know how

it

is,

forgive I

me

seem not

;

I

to

left. Suffer me, then, with the greatest respect, to take my leave."

And he was for bolting. "Not yet, monsieur,"

said Josephine.

" Laure Laure went off, looking behind her every now and then. After a long silence Edouard muttered; "Do you forgive me, mademoiselle?" "Yes." Josephine colored and was not quite so statel3^ She added " We !

:

should indeed be harsh judges, monsieur, if we Ah here is Laure with the other. Take these twentj'- louis which you have been so kind as to leave here." And her creamy hand held him out the two purses.



!

—a

"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

68

The boy started back and put up both hands in a supplicatory attitude. " Oh, no ladies do not pray do not Let me speak to you. My ideas are coming' back. I think I can say a word or two now, thoug-h not as I could wish. Do his



!



not reject my friendship. You are alone your father is dead your in the world mother has but you to lean on. After all, I am your neighbor, and neighbors should be friends. And I am your debtor I owe you more than you could ever owe me ; for ever since I came into this neighborhood I have been happy. Oh, no man was ever so happ}'^ as I, ever since one day I met you out walking. single glance, a single smile from an angel has done this for me. I owe all my good thoughts, if I have any, to her. Before I saw her, I vegetated now I live. And you talk of twenty louis well then, yes I will obey you I will take them back. So then you will perhaps be generous in your turn. Since you mortify me in this, 3'ou will grant what you can grant without hurting your pride ; you will accept va.y service, my devotion. You have no brother I have no sister. Let me be your brother and your servant forever." ;

;

;

A



— —

!



"Monsieur Riviere," said Josephine, with her delicate curl of her lip, " you offer us too much, and we have too little to give you in return. Ours is a falling house, and " No no mademoiselle, you mistake You fancy you ^3'ou are imposed upon. are poor others that do not care for you say so too ; but I, who owe you so much, I have looked closer into your interests your estate is grossly mismanaged forgive me for saying so. You are rich at this moment if you had but a friend man of business. You are cheated through thick and thin it is abominable and no wonder; you are women and don't understand business ^you are aristocrats and



!

!





"

!



;









scorn it."

"

He is no fool," said Laure, naively. "And you banish me who could be of such service to yo\x and to madame the baroness.

Yet you say you forgive my but I fear you do not. Ah

officiousness,

!

no, this vile

money has

ruined

me

with

you."



"No monsieur, no ^you have earned and well merited our esteem." "But not 3^our acquaintance?" The ladies both looked down a little ashamed. " See now," said the boy, bitterly, "how reasonable etiquette is. If I had happened to dine at some house where j^ou dined, and some person whom neither of us respected had said to you, Suffer me to present Monsieur Edouard Riviere to you,' I should have the honor and blessing of your acquaintance that would have been an introduction but all this is none, and you will never, never speak !

!

'

— —

to

me again." He is anything but

"

a fool " said Laure. look of ardent gratitude from Edouard. "He is very young," said Josephine, " and thinks to give society new rules society is too strong to be dictated to by him or jou. Let us be serious approach. Monsieur Edouard." Edouard came a little nearer, and fixed two beseeching eyes on her a moment, then lowered them. " Ere we part, and part we must for your path lies one way, ours another hear me, who speak in the name of all this ancient house. Your name is not quite new to me I believe you are a Republican officer, monsieur; but you have acted en gentilho?nme." " Mademoiselle " May your career be brilliant. Monsieur Edouard may those you have been taught to serve, and whom j^ou greatly honor b^'^ serving, be more grateful to 3'ou than circumstances permit this family to be we, who were beginning to despair of human goodness, thank you, monsieur, for showing us the world is " still embellished with hearts like 3'ours And she suddenly held him out her hand like a pitying goddess, her purple eye dwelling on him with all the heaven of sentiment in it. He bowed his head over her hand, and kissed it again and again. !

A

;







!

;

!

— WHITE " You

will

make him

cry, that will be

the next thing," said Laure, with a Uttle gulp. "No no " said Josephine, *'he is too !

!

much

a

of

man

to crj'."

" Oh no, mademoiselle, I will not expose myself." "And see," said Josephine, in a motherly tone, " thoug-h we return your poor gold, we keep both purses Laure takes they this one, my mother and I this one will be our souvenirs of one who wished to oblige without humiliating us." "And I think," said Laure, "as his gold is so fugitive, I had better imprison ;

;

which I have just made would be uncourteous to return him his money loose, you know " mademoiselle, what goodness **Ah Oh, be assured it shall be put to no such base use as carr^'ing money." "Adieu, then. Monsieur Riviere " The two sisters were now together their arms round one another. " Mademoiselle Laure, Mademoiselle Josephine, conceive, if you can, my happiness and my disappointment adieu adieu adieu " it in

this purse,

there



it

!

!

!

!

!





He was gone as

it is **

!

!

as slowly and unwillingly

possible to go.

Inaccessible

sadly, as he inaccessible

!

!

"

said

went slowly home " quite Yet there was a moment ;

when I thought but no. All the shame of such a surprise, and yet I am no nearer them than before. I am very unhappy No



!

am

not.

I

am

the happiest

France." Then he acted the scene

LIES.

man

!

in

" To business ? " " Yes no don't go i^^yet. A little arrangement between us arises nec!



!

wo



that is how the notary talks and it is as well to because, love, in settle it at once, say I a day or two, you know, it might be too essarily out of this affair



;

late

—ahem

" !

"But settle what ? " "Which of us two takes that

is

him, dear

all."

"Takes whom?" "Edouard " explained Laure, demure!

lowering her e3^es. Josephine glared with wonder and comical horror upon the lovely minx. And after a long look too big for words, she ly,

said

:

" Next did I not understand Jacintha to say that it was me the poor child dreams of ? "

"Oh, you shall have him, my sister," put in the "sly minx, warmly, " if you insist on it." " What words are these ? I shall be angry at the end." " Ah, I must not annoy you by too great importunit}', neither. You have only to say j'ou decline him." " Decline him ? poor boy He has never asked me." " In short, on one pretense or another, you decline to decline him." "How dare you, Laure? decline him."

Of course

I

you, my sister," cried Laure and kissed her; "it is the prettiest present you ever gave me except your love. Ah what is that on your hand? It is wet it looks like the dew on a lily. It is a tear from his eye you

"Thank

hastily'',



!

all

over again,

more adroitly, and blushed again at his want of presence of mind, and concocted speeches for past use, and was hot and cold by turns. onlj'

"Poor boy," said Josephine, "he is gone away sad, and that has saddened me. But I did mj'^ duty, and he will yet live to thank me for freezing at once an attachment I could never have requited." Have you finished your observations, ve ? " asked Laure dryly. '^ Yes, Laure."





woman." "No it was when I spoke kindly to him. I remember now, I did feel somecruel

!

Poor child!" of marble that affects pitj'^ an hour after. Stay since our agreement, this belongs to me " and she drew

thing

!

"Heart

!

!

;

out a back comb, and rich

brown

down

fell

a mass of

She swept the dew off and did it up again with

hair.

the lily with it, a turn of the hand. deeply.

I"

59

!

he to himself

after the first surprise

I



Josephine sighed

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

60

"My sister, you frig-hten me. Do not run thus wantpAly to the edge of a precipice. Take warning \>y me. Oh, why did we come out ? Jacintha, what have " you done " This dear Jesephine, with her mis!

!

givings

you take me for a

confess,

!

" I take you

for a child that will play not prevented." **At nineteen and a half one is no longer a child. Oh, the blindness of our

Vwith fire

if

I

!

know you by

heart, Josephine,

but you only know a little bit of me. You have only observed the side I turn to you, whom I love better than I shall love any man. Keep your pity for Monsieur Riviere if ever he does fall into my hands, not for me. In a word, Josephine, the hour is come for making you a revelation. I am not a child. I am a woman! " *'

Ah

!

"But

— and

all the worse." not the sort of

woman you

Heaven be thanked

are

for both our

sakes I am not " Josephine opened her eyes. "She never talked like this to me before !

this

Unhappy

"

My

what are you,

girl,

"No, my j'^our

— Riviere. then? —

your doing. Monsieur

is

not like me, be

They

left their

hear-

might be. The baroness, on her part, was not disposed to put love ideas into her daughters' heads she therefore, though too shrewd not to suspect Dan Cupid's hand ;

her suspicions, and spoke any one might, looking delicate, generous, and disin-

in this, reserved

of Riviere's act as

fool."

elders

with one of them.

ers to see that or not, as

who

love you so

sister,

I

" !

!

!

!

!

have the honor to

opposite." opposite " cried Josephine, very !

ruefully.

" exclaimed Laure, in a " I am a devil mysterious whisper, but with perfect gravity and conviction, aiming at Josephine with her forefinger, to point the remark. She allowed just one second for this important statement to sink into her sister's mind, then straightway set to and gamboled in a most elfish way round and round her as Josephine moved stately and thoughtful across the grass to the chateau. It may well be supposed what was the subject of conversation at breakfast, and indeed all the day. The young ladies, however, drew only the broader outlines of their story with a natural reserve, they gave no direct hint that they thought Monsieur Riviere was in love !

;

!

only at

its

terested side.

Male sagacity,

in the person of St. prided itself on its superior shrewdness, held the same language as the others, but smiled secretly all the time at female credulity. Scarce three days had elapsed, three weary daj^s to a friend of ours, when Jacintha, looking through the kitchen window, saw the signal of distress ^ymg from a tree in the park. She slipped out, and there was Edouard Riviere. Her tongue went off with a clash at the moment of contact with him, like a cj'^mbal. " How had First, she exulted over him

Aubin',

:

answered trying to draw the wool over Jacintha's eyes, eh ? " then she related her own sagacity, telling him, as such it

characters are apt to, half the story. She- suppressed Dard's share, for she might want a similat* service from Dard again who knows ? But she let him know it was she who had set the ladies in ambush at that time in the morning. At this young Riviere raised his hands and eyed her as a moral alligator. She faced the examination with cold composure, lips parted in a brazen smile, and



arms akimbo. " Oh, Jacintha, you can stand there and tell me this what malice all be;

!

cause out of delicacy, misplaced perhaps, I did not like to tell you." " So then you don't see I have been your best friend, ungratefully as you used me? " "No, Jacintha, indeed I cannot see that you have ruined me. Judge for



yourself."

Then he

told her all that

in the Pleasance.

news

to her.

Still it

cited her to hear

from

Very

it all

his point of view.

had happened

little

of

it

was

interested and extold in a piece,

and

" ;

;!

WHITE "So you see, my poor Jacintha, you have got me dismissed, kindly, but oli so coldly and firmly all hope is now " dead alas *'Ha! ha ha! ha! ha!" " Jacintha, do you laug-h at the extinc" tion of my hopes ? I





!

!

Ha ha so she has given you conge f " " Yes, and all that remains for me *'Is not to take it," said Jacintha. '^Oh, no!" said Riviere, sadly, but firmly; "debarred her love, let me at least have her respect." *'

!

!



" Her respect

? how can she respect a " turns tail at the first word ? " But that word is hers, whose lig-htest word a true and loyal lover is bound to I not to take obey to his own cost. " a lad3^ at her word ? " Oh oh little sot no. I must run and make the coffee." " Malediction on the coffee how can you have the heart to think of coffee now, dear Jacintha ? Do, pray, explain." *' What is the use, if you will go and dream that a lady is a man ? " " No, no I won't fancy anythingtell me about women, then, if you think

man who

Am

!

!



!

!

you can understand them." ** Above all mortal I will then.

;

'

61

my young mistress is half angel and half woman, so, if you give her up Now,

because she bids j'ou, she will only despise you but if it was my other young lady or me, we should hate you as well." ;

" Hate me ? for self-denial and obedience?" " No Hate you for being a fool Hate 3'ou with a bitterness there, hate you as you could not hate anything." " I can't believe it What horrible in" justice !



!

!

" Justice who looks to us for justice ? are good creatures, but we don't trouble our heads with justice it is a word j^ou shall never hear a woman use, unless she happens to be doing some monstrous injustice at that very moment that is our rule about justice so, there." "Jacintha, your views of j^our sex are hard and cynical. Women are nobler and better than men " "Ay ay you see them a mile off. I see them too near they can't pass for rainbows here." " Pass for rainbows he he Speak for yourself, Jacintha, and for coquettes, and for vulgar women but do not blaspheme those angelic natures with which !

We

;



!

!

!

:



!

!

;

moment in contact." are all tarred with the same stick, angels and all the angels that wear stays." " I cannot think so. Besides, you were not there you did not hear how kindly yet how firml}'^ she thanked, yet bade me adieu." I

thing's

they despise faint-hearted men. They are on the lookout for something stronger than a woman. A woman hates to have to make the advances. She likes to be always retreating, yet never be off. She is not content to take what she wants, and thank God for it, and that is a man. She must play with it like a cat with a mouse. She must make difficulties. The man he is to trample on them. She made them to no other end. If he is such a fool as to let them trample on him. Heaven have mercj'^ on him, for she won't Her two delights are, saying * no ' half a dozen times, and saying *yes' at last. If you take her at her word at the first * no,' a'ou cause her for then she six bitter disappointments can't get to sa.y the other 'no's,' and, worst of all, she can't get to say the ' yes that she was looking forward to, and that was in her heart all along. !

LIES.

was "

for one short

Ah bah we !



;

" I tell you, a word in a man's mouth a thing, but in a woman's it is only a word." At this point, without any previous warning, she went into a passion like gunpowder kindled. "Take your is

own way " she more than I do. no more of it." !

cried

;

So be

"this boj^ knows it let us speak



" Cruel Jacintha, to quarrel with me, who have no other friend. There I am your pupil; for, after all, your sagacity



is great. ten."

Advise

me

like

a sister

"Like a sister! Ah, my say that." "Why not? Yes, do."

child,

—I

lis-

do not



"

!

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

62

''No; good advice is never welcome." It is so seldom given kindly." " Oh, as to that, I could not speak unkindly to you, my little cabbag-e but I shall make you unhappy, and then I shall for you see, with all our be unhappy faults, we have not bad hearts." ''Speak, Jacintha." " I am going- to and when I have spoken, I shall never see your pretty face again so near to mine so you see I am and oh, how I hate telldisinterested ing the truth " cried she, with pious fervor; " it always makes everybody miser-

"

;

;

;



;



!

able."

" Jacintha, remember what you said in its favor the first time we met." " I cannot remember for my part, and

what

signities

what

I said ?

Words

Well, my poor child, I will advise you like a mother give her up." "Give her up ? " " Think no more of her for there is a thing in your way that is as hard to get over as all her nonsensical words would be easy." " Oh, what is it ? You make me tremair

!



;

ble."

"It

is

a man."

"Ah!" " There is another man in the way." " Who ?—that vile old doctor ? " " Oh, if it was no worse than that No it is a young one. Oh, you don't know him he has not been here for years but what of that, if his image lies !



;

her heart ? And it does. I listened the other day, and I heard something that opened m.y eyes. I am cruel to you, my son forgive me " Jacintha scarcely dared look at her She did not like feeble-minded novice. to see her blow fall and him stagger and turn pale under it. When she did look, he was red instead of pale. lo and behold " What is he? " was the question, in a in



!

!

stern voice.

" He is a soldier." > " I am glad of that then he will fight, and I'll kill him." " Hear to that now " " And you think I will give in now resign her to an unworthy rival ? " :

!

I

,

Who

was unworthy ? "

said he

"I say

**

so."

" What makes you fancy that ? " " Because he never comes near the place, because he neglects what none but a villain could neglect, the greatest treasure in the world. lose

it

—and he shall

No

!

lose

he deserves to Thank you,

it.

Jacintha you show me my folly. I will not take her conge now, rel}'- on it. No no if she bade me do anything in the world to please her, and her alone, I would do it, though I had to go through fire and water and blood, and break my heart doing it. But if she asks me to make way for a rival, I answer never never never " "But if she loves him?" " passing fancy, and the object of it unworthy it is my duty to cure her of a misplaced attachment that can never make her happy, sweet angel she will !

!

!



!





!

!

A

:

!

live to

—to

thank me

bless



me

!

—I

say,

whose side are 3'ou on his or mine ? " " Wretch, do you ask me ? " " Do they walk in the park ? " " Half an hour every da3\" " What time ? " * "Uncertain." " And I can't see into the park for that great infernal elm tree at the corner it just blocks up my window if I cut it down some night, will you tell ? " "Not I. Would you really have the ;



forehead to cut down one of the Beaure? holy saints !"



paire elms

"Look

for

won't see

down with

to-morrow," said he, look low enough or 3'^ou I'll cut one of your elms it

"and

griml^',

it.

as

little

remorse as

I

would

half a dozen rivals."



" He is mad after all I want fire-wood, and above all I want brush-wood for my oven for you are to understand, my friend, there is some meal come in from the tenants, and so "That's right! think kitchen! talk kitchen pray does your soul live in a kitchen as well as your body ? " " Monsieur " " Forgive me, my blood is on fire, I take your advice you shall never have to spur me again. It is clear you know :



!

!

;

"

;

WHITE the sex best she shall make as many She shall say difficulties as she pleases. "no" twelve times instead of six if it amuses her: I will court her, I will besieg-e her, I'll fig-ht for her against all the soldiers on earth, and all the fiends in you know where." Whir ^he was away.. Jacintha gazed after her pupil and firework with ardent admiration so long as :



his graceful, active figure

Then she

mood with "

fell

customary, in polite

fiction,

into the reflecting part of a servant

let us therefore make a point of doing it, for to be vulgar in the eyes of snobs and snobbesses is no mean distinc:

tion.





" Look there now Humph they say you should give and take. Well, I gave a lesson and now I have taken one. " From fourteen to fourscore a man is a man, and a woman is a woman. Write that in your mass books, for it is as true !

:

as gospel. Ah well school is never over while we are in the world. I thought I knew something too but I was all be!

:

«

.

I

Now

me

a

woman

is the shallowest thing the good God ever made. I can plumb it with my forefinger. But to a man they are as deep as the ocean. And, no doubt, men can read one another: but they beat me. She put up a straw between him and her, and he fell back as if it was Goliath's spear that was as thick as what was it as thick as ? I showed him an iron door between them, and he flies at it as if it was a sheet of brown paper. Mother of Heaven my pot

hind.

to



!

MY POT She

63

" No, madame, but there was a night or two ag'o." Laure giggled. " Well, mademoiselle, that might loosen it!" Laure laughed

;

but the baroness was

grave.

"Let us she, sadly

;

go and look at

all

it," said

a tree was an old friend to

her.

in sight.

—an unusual

this active personage.

It is not

go maid to

was

into a reverie

LIES.

!

!

fled wildly.

There lay the monster on the earth that

was plowed and harrowed by its hundred arms and thousand fingers its giant proportions now first revealed by the space of earth it covered, and the frightful gap ;

its fall left in

the air and the prospect.

The doctor inspected the and especially "Humph !"

the

tree

in detail,

and

stump,

said,

The baroness looked only at the mass and the ruin. "An ill omen, mj'- children," said she. "It stood out the storm; and then one calm night it fell. And so it will be with the house of Beaurepaire." "Ah, well," said Jacintha, in a comfortable tone, " now you are down, we must do the best we can with you. I wanted some firewood and I wanted small wood terribly." The baroness shrugged her shoulders at this kitchen philosophy, and moved away with Josephine. The doctor detained Laure. "Now it is no use telling your mother, to annoy her, but this tree has been cut down."



"Impossible

" !

" Fact. Come and look at the stub. Oh, I have stood and seen thousands of trees felled it is an interesting operation comes next to taking off a hem See how clean three-fourths of the wood have come away. They have had the cunning





;

!

to cut three feet above the ground, too



CHAPTER

but this is not Nature's work it is man's. Laure, it wanted but this ; you have an enemy a secret enemy." " Ah " cried Laure, with flashing eyes and making her hand into an angular snowball; "oh! that I had him here! I'd^ Ah ah "



IX.

!

Oh madame the baroness, there a tree blown down in the park." "

!

" Impossible, at

all last

child

night."

!

there

is

was no wind

!

!

This doughty threat ended in two screams, for a young gentleman sprang

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

64

from the road

over

hedge,

the



a large

tree

—forgive

had

m^""

fallen,

and

indiscretion"

my

curiosity

— and

he

af-

fected to retreat, but cast a lingering look at the fallen tree.

Remain, monsieur," said St. Aubin, " and, as your eyes are younger politely than mine, I will even ask you to examine the stump and also the tree, and tell me whether m3^ suspicions are correct. Has *'

;

by accident, or by the Pronounce, monsieur." Riviere darted on the stump with the

this tree fallen

hand

of

man ?

and examined His deportment was not bad

fire of curiosity in his face, it

keenly.

Riviere went on.

and

alighted close to them. He took off his hat, and, blushing like a rose, poured out a flood of excuses. "Mademoiselle monsieur, I saw that

comedy. He pronounced " This tree has been cut down. See, mademoiselle," cried the young rogue, determined to bring her :

into the conversation, " observe this cut look, here are the here in the wood teeth of a saw." of the marks This brought Laure close to him, and he gave a prolix explanation to keep her there, and asked her whether she saw so then this, and whether she saw that she was obliged to speak to him. He proved to their entire satisfaction that somebody had cut down the elm. " The rogue " cried St. Aubin. '* The wretch " cried Laure. Riviere looked down, and resumed his inspection of the stump. " Oh, that I had him " cried Laure, ;

;

!

!

!

at fever heat. *'Iwish you had, mademoiselle," said

still

Edouard, with a droll look. Then, with an air of imposing gravity "Monsieur," says he, " I have the honor to serve the government in this district, as you may perhaps be aware." St. Aubin looked to Laure for explana:

"

If you really suspect this has been done out of malice, I will set an inquiry on foot." " You are very good, monsieur. It ceris a mysterious affair." " In short, give yourself no further anxiet}' about it, sir. I take it into my hands in doing so, I merely discharge my duty ; need I add, mademoiselle, that duty is for once a pleasure ? If any of the

tainly



neighbors

the culprit, it will transpire ; the present government is, I assure you, sir, a Briareus, and one of its hands will fall sooner or later on him who has dared to annoy you, mademoiselle." As a comment on these words of weight, he drew out his pocket-book made a minute or with such an air two, and returned it to his pocket. "Monsieur, mademoiselle, receive once more my excuses for my indiscreet curiosity, which I shall never cease to regret, unless it should lead to the discovery of what you have at heart." And he bowed himself away. " charming young man, my dear." '* What, that little buck do you see

if

not,

is

still

:

A



goodness as well as intelligence."* "Oh! oh! oh! doctor." ^ " I have not seen such a face for ever so long," cried the doctor, getting angry. " I don't desire to see such another for ever so long." "Confess, at least, that his manners are singularly graceful." "Republican ease, doctor admire it



who canJ^ " It was the respectful

those

ease of a young person not desirous to attract attention to his own grace, but simply to be polite."

"

Now

hedge,

I thought his and taking our

tion.

and his

little

She would not give any, because by re. vealing the j^oung man's name she would have enabled St. Aubin to put the purse and this jump over the hedge together. She colored at the bare thought, but said

off

nothing.



charms in him ? where ? " " Buck ? a young Apollo, beaming with

flying over affairs

our on him

pocket-book, a great piece

effrontery."

"If it had not been done with equal modesty and deference," replied St. Aubin " but the poor boy is a Republican. So you cannot be just. Oh, politics poliyou madden the bram you bandtics ;

!

!





— WHITE

LIES.



age the judg-ment you corrupt the heart us see whether the}' have blinded Come, did you notice 5'our very eyes. his color roses and lilies side by side ?

—let



Come, now." " A boy's complexion, staring red and white !— Yes." **



And

his eyes full of soul."

"Yes, he had wildish eyes. If you want to be stared out of countenance, send for Monsieur Riv hum what did he say his name was ? "





A

" I forget. figure like Antinous, with all Diana's bounding grace." **0h, he can jump high enough to frighten one enchanting qualitj'." "Well, mademoiselle, I shall not subject him to further satire by praising him. He serves France, and not the Bourbons; and is therefore a monsten ugly and even old. Let us speak of more important matters." " If you please," said Laure, dr^^ly. And they did. And the effect of the rise in themes was that Laure became distracted, and listened badly and every now and then she slipped back to the abandoned subject, :

;

and made a number

of half-concessions,

one at a time, in favor of the young Republican's looks, manners, and conduct all to please the doctor. So that at last

she and St. Aubin were not so very far apart in their estimate of the youth. Arrived at the park gate leading into the Pleasance, she turned suddenly round, beamed and blushed all over with pleasure, and put her arms round the puzzled doctor's neck and kissed him ; then scudded off like a rabbit after her sister who was on the south terrace. " Dard, I've a little job for you," cried Jacintha, cheerih'-.

"Ugh oh have you?" "You must put up 'the !

!

grindstone.



Stop don't go off that is not all. Put a handle in it, and then sharpen the great ax the hatchet is not a bit of use." " Any more ? " !



" Yes to-morrow j'^ou must go into the park with your wheelbarrow, and cut me billet wood for upstairs and small wood for my oven." ;

(E)

"3

65

The much-enduring man

set about this

new job. The demoiselles De Beaurepaire, coming out into the park for their afternoon walk, saw a figure hacking away at the

They went toward it near tree. enough to recognize Dard then they turned and took their usual walk. They made sure Jacintha had ordered him to

fallen

;

do

it.

They had not been

in the park a minute before a telescope was leveled from a window at them, and the next moment M. Edouard was running up the road to

Beaurepaire. Now as he came near the fallen tree he heard loud cries for help, followed by groans of pain. He bounded over the hedge, and there was Dard hanging over

ax faint and moaning. is the matter? what is the matter ? " cried Edouard, running to him. " Oh oh !— cut my foot." Edouard looked, and turned sick, for there was a gash right through Dard's shoe, and the blood welling up through But, recovering himself by an effor-t it. his



"What !

of the will, he cried out

:

"Courage, my lad! don't give in thank Heaven there's no artery there. Let us get Oh dear, it is a terrible cut 3'ou home, that is the first thing Can you walk ? " " Lord bless you, no nor stand either !

!

!

without help."

Edouard flew

to the wheelbarrow, and spun a lot of billet out. " Ye must not do that," said Dard, with all the energy he was capable of in his present condition " why, that is Jacintha 's wood." " To the Devil with Jacintha and her wood too!" cried Edouard, "a man is worth more than a fagot. Come, Dard, I shall wheel you home; it is onlj'- just across the park."

reversing

it



With some

difficulty

he

lifted

him

into

the barrow.

"Ah! how lucky," he cried, "I have got my shooting-jacket on, so here's my brandy-flask take a suck at it, old fellow and courage " Dard stretched out his hand with sud;



!

Rkadk— Vol.

VI.

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

66

den animation for the flask, and it was soon glued to his lips. Now the ladies, as they walked, saw a man wheeling a barrow across the park, and took no particular notice; but, as Riviere was making for the same point, presently the barrow came near enough for them to see a man's head and arms Laure was the first to notice this. in it. **Look look " said she, *' if he is not !

!

wheeling Dard

in

the barrow now."

"Who?" "Do you

Who

who?

provides

all

we used

;

" No but I am as good a runner as any for miles round. I'll run it out in half an hour or die at it, and I'll send the surgeon up full gallop." " Ah Heaven bless you, monsieur, you have a good heart," cried Josephine. " Oh yes Heaven bless him," cried ;

!

am afraid

I

this.

Consider, there is something wrong. Monsieur Riviere would not wheel Dard all across the park for amusement." " Oh, let us run and see," cried Laure.

Now

Riviere did not intend them to see ; he had calculated on getting to the corner a considerable time before the

promenaders.

But they hastened

their

speed, and defeated his intention.

He

and made a

his coat off too,

great effort to beat them.

"Dard,"

so poor,

!

ask

" our amusements ? " Laure, I do not like

had taken

we

and no horses nor people " to have ? " Mademoiselle, have no fears. Dard shall have the best surgeon in the district by his side in less than an hour the town is but two short leagues off." " Have 3'ou a horse then ? " are

to send off as

said he,

5'oung ladies,

what a

over your foot, that

"now pity



here are the put my coat

a good fellow." "What for?" said Dard, sulkily. " No let them see what they have done with their little odd jobs this is my last for one while. I shan't go on two legs again this year." The ladies came up with them. " Oh, monsieur," said Josephine, " what is the matter?" " We have met with a little accident, mademoiselle, that is all. Dard has hurt nothing to speak of, but I his foot thought he would be best at home." Laure raised the coat which Riviere in spite of Dard had flung over his foot, and is

!

;

Laure.

He was already gone but these sweet words rang in his ears and ran warm round and round his heart, as he straightened bis arms and his back to the work. When they had gone about a hundred 3'ards, a single snivel went off in the ;

wheelbarrow.* Five minutes after, Dard was at home in charge of his grandmother, his shoe off, his foot in a wet linen cloth and the statesman, his coat tied round the neck, squared his shoulders and ran the two short leagues out. He ran them in thirtyfive minutes, found the surgeon at home, told the case, pooh-poohed that worthy's promise to go to the patient presently', darted into his stable, saddled the horse, brought him round, saw the surgeon into the saddle, started him, dined at- the ;

restaurateur's, strolled back,

and was

in

time to get a good look at the chateau of Beaurepaire before the sun set on it.

.



removed it. " Oh, he

CHAPTER is

bleeding

!

Dard

Oh,

my poor Dard. Oh

" Hush

"

ing

!

!

oh

!

oh " !

Laure " No don't put him out of heart, mademoiselle. Take another pull at the flask, Dard. If you please, ladies, I must have him home without delay." " Oh yes, but I want him to have a !

Laure

!

!

!

surgeon," cried Josephine.

X.

bleed-

is

"Ah! why

Jacintha came

into

Dard's cottage

that evening.

" So you have been and done it, my cried she, cheerfully and rather

man,"

* I beg the polite writer's pardon it on to the scene at all

wiieeling

for not calling

it

a monotroch.

:

;

first,

for

secondly,

,

WHITE

LIES.

67



me ah, well we can't have all. have a good heart, but no head."

You

roughly then sat down and rocked herwith her apron over her head. She explained this anomalous proceed-

to

grandmother privately. thought I would keep his heart up but you see I was not fit." an^'" way Calmer, she comforted Dard, and ended by cross-questioning him. The young ladies had told her what they had seen, and, though Dard was too wrapped up in himself to dwell with any gusto upon Edouard's zeal and humanity, still, as far as facts went, he confirmed the ladies' comments. Jacintha's heart yearned toward the young man. She was in the town next day making a purchase or two, so she called on him. *' I thought I would just step in to put a question to you. Would you like to " get a word with her alone ? " Oh, Jacintha " don't shout like that; why, ''Hush you may be sure she is alone sometimes, though not very often. The}'- love one another so, those two." Jacintha then developed her plan.

Dard's grandmother had a little house, a little land, a little money, and a little cow. She could just keep Dard and herself, and her resources enabled Dard to do so many little odd jobs for love, yet keep his favorite organ tolerably

;

self,

ing-

*'

to his I

;

I

!

V

As

the clout was his signal, so she must have a signal to show when she wanted to speak to him, and that signal should be a sheet, which she would hang

over the battlement of Beaurepaire Chateau.

*'So

come

when you

me — the

to

"You " Oh,

see a white sheet, 3'ou quicker the better."

dear girl."

it is

know what Words it.

mean.

in a

you what they

I

You

won't speak about

woman's mouth

—I

told

No, I won't end in steam, like boiling water does. I won't say, I'll show you what you have done,

my

are.

angel." Her eyes told him all the same. "Where is my clout? You never left it out there on the tree, did you?" and she looked solemn. " Jacintha on my knees I demand pardon for TCij fatal heedlessness." Jacintha put her hand under her apron and pulled out the clout. "There," said she, and threw it him. " Now suppose you had wanted to speak !

filled. '"

Go

to

you are

my

bed,

son,

little

hashed," said

Dard's

since

grand-

mother.

"Bed be hanged," cried he. "What good is bed ? That's another silly old custom wants doing away with. It weakens you it turns you into train oil it is the doctor's friend, and the patient's enemy. Many a one shuts up through taking to bed, that could have got through his trouble if he had kept his feet like a man. If I was dying I would not go to bed till I went to the bed with a spade in it. No sit up like Julius Caesar, and die as you lived, in your





!

don't strip yourself let the old you that is their delight laying out a chap that is the time they brighten up, the old sorceresses." He concluded this amiable rhapsody, the latter part of which was leveled at a lugubrious weakness of his grandmother's for the superfluous embellishment of the dead by telling her it was bad enough to be tied by the foot like an ass, witliout setclothes

:

women

:

strip

— :

down on his back like a cast sheep. Give me the armchair. I'll sit in it, and if I have any friends they will show it now they will come and tell me what is going on in the village, for I can't get out to see it and hear it, they must know tling

the least I can do now. I

!

"'

:

that." Seated in state in his granny's easychair, the loss of which after thirty years' use made her miserable, she couldn't tell why, Le Sieur Dard awaited his friends.

His friends did not come. The rain did, and poured all the afternoon. Night came, and solitude. Dard boiled over with bitterness. " They are then a lot of pigs all those fellows I have drank with at Bigot's and ;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE. Down

Simmet's.

with

all

!

!

"And

fair-weather

"

The next day the sun shone, the air was clear, and the sky blue. ^' Ah let us see now," cried Dard. friends

!

Alas no fellow-drinkers, no fellowsmokers, came to console their hurt fellow. And Dard, who had boiled with ang-er yesterday, was now sad and despondent. "Down with egoists," he groaned. However, about three in the afternoon came a tap at the door.

make

I will

it

for you,

Dard,"

Dard

I shall

said Josephine.

" Don't you

make "

!

it

We

she

:

will

believe her,

:

indolent."

is

both make

it,

then," said

Josephine.

Dard grinned an uncertain

grin.

At

the door they turned and sent back each a smile brimful of comfort, promise, and kindness, to stay with him till next visit.

Dard scratched Dard pondered

his head.

''Ah! at last," cried Dard: "come in!" The door was slowly opened, and two

thus, or thereabouts.

lovely faces appeared at the threshold.

cow.

The Demoiselles de Beaurepaire wore a tender look of interest and pity when

She now came into the kitchen. Dard sang out lustily to her " Grannj'-, I'm better. Keep your heart up, old

they caught sight of Dard, and on the old woman courtesying to them they courtesied to her and Dard. But when Dard put his arms on the chair to rise and salute them, Laure put up her finger and peremptorily forbade him. The next moment they were close to him, one a little to his right, the other to his left, and two pair of sapphire eyes with the mild luster of sympathy playing down How was he? incessantly upon him. How had he slept ? Was he in pain ? Was he in much pain? tell the truth now. Was there anything to eat or drink he could fancy? Jacintha should make it and bring it, if it was within their means. A prince could not have had more sonor a fairy king licitous attendants ;

lovelier

and

less earthly ones.

He

looked in heavy amazement from one to the other. Laure laughed at him, then Josephine smiled. Laure bent, and was by some supple process on one knee, taking the measure of the wounded foot. When she first approached it he winced ; but the next moment he smiled. He had never been touched like this it was contact and no contact she treated his foot she handled as the zephj'r the violets it as if it had been some sacred thing. By the help of his eye he could just know she was touching him. "There, monsieur, you are measured



for a

list

shoe."

— —

The

old

half

an hour

woman had

in

silence

been to milk the

:

lady

:

good

we

shan't die this bout.

more

for a few

I

am

odd jobs,"

little

said he, with a sudden tincture of bitterness.

Presently in came Jacintha with a bas" I have not a minute to stay now Dard, my j^oung ladies have sent ket, crying, :



you two bottles of Burgundy ^j'ou won't like that and here is a loaf I have just made. And now I must go " and she stayed three quarters of an hour with him, and cheered him mightily. At dusk Riviere rode by, fastened his horse up, and came bustling in. " How do we get on, dame ? " " Pretty well, monsieur. He was very dull at first, but now he is brightened up



:

a

bit,

poor thing.

come here

All the great folks the Demoiselles de

him

to see



Beaurepaire and all." "Ah! that is like them." "Oh, as to that, my little son is respected far and wide," said the old lady, inflating herself and as gratitude cannot live an instant with conceit, she went on to say, " and after all it is the least they can do, for he has been a good friend to them, and never seen the color of their Also behold him hashed in money. their service a wounded foot ^that is all ever he took out of Beaurepaire." " Hold your tongue," cried Dard, brutally; "if I don't complain, what right have you?" He added doggedly, ;

!







"

:

WHITE but rather gently, " the ax was in m^hand, not in theirs—let us he just before all

LIES. the

"

The statesman sat at breakfast, eating roasted kidneys with a little melted butter and parsley under them, and drinking a tumbler of old Medoc slightly diluted— a modest repast becoming his age and the state of his affections. On his writingtable lay waiting for him a battle array He looked at them of stubborn figures.

over his tumbler. "Ah!" '* to-day I must be all the state's. Even you must not keep me from those dry calculations, oh, well-beloved chateau of

thought he,

— ah

!

my

telescope



it is

!

[Exit statesman. it is." The white flag was waving from the battlements. When he got half-way to Beaurepaire, he found to his horror he had forgotten that wretched clout. However, he would not go back. He trusted to Jacintha's He It did not deceive him. intelligence. found her waiting for him. ''She is gone alone to Dard's house. The other will be after her soon for" ward



!

gate when sure enough Laura They met; his heart beating

little

emerged. violently.

things."

Beau-re-pai

69

!

He flew; he knocked with beating heart at Dard's door. At another time he should have knocked and opened without further invitation. " Come in," cried Dard's stentorian He entered, and there, seated on voice. a chair, with a book in her hand, was Mademoiselle Josephine de Beaurepaire. Riviere stared stupefied, mystified. The young lady rose with a smile, courtesied, and reseated herself. She was as self-possessed as he was fiurried and puzzled what to say or do. He recovered himself a little, inquired with solicitude Dard's present wonderful symptoms, and, suddenly remembering the other lady was expected, he said I leave you in good hands angel visitors are best enjoyed alone," and retired slowly, with a deep obeisance. Once outside the door dignity vanished in alacrity he flew off into the park and ran as hard as he could toward the chateau. He was within fifty yards of



Ah "Ah!

!

"She

sent

you

me?"

for

inquired

Laure, arching her brows. "Not positively. Mademoiselle Laure." " How pat he has our names too " " But I could see I should please her by coming for you there is, I believe, a bull or so about." " bull or two ; don't talk in that reckless way, monsieur. She has done well to send you ; let us make haste." "But I am a little out of breath." " Oh, never mind that I abhor bulls." " But, mademoiselle, we are not come !

;

A

!

them 3'et, and the faster we go now the sooner we shall." "Yes; but I always like to get a dis= agreeable thing over as soon as possible," said Laure, slyly. "Ah," replied Edouard, mournfully, "in that case let us make haste." After a little spurt, mademoiselle relaxed the pace of her own accord, and even went slower than before. There was an awkward silence. Edouard eyed the

to

" Now park boundary, and thought what I have to say I must say before we :

get to j'^ou " and, being thus impressed with the necessity of immediate action, he turned to lead. Laure ej'^ed him from under her long lashes, and the ground, alternately. At last he began to color and flutter. She saw something was coming, and all the woman donned defensive armor. " Mademoiselle." ;

"Monsieur." "Is it quite decided that

'•'

;

;



mademoiselle it is Monsieur Riviere, I deLaure, coolly, all over said clare," blushes, though. "Yes, mademoiselle, and I am scout of breath. I am sent for you. Mademoiselle Josephine awaits you at Dard's house." !

refuse

my

acquaintance,





j'^our

my

family

services,

I still forgive me press on you ? Mademoiselle Laure, am I never to have the happiness of of even speaking

which

Ah to

!

you? "

— —

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

70

" It appears so," said Laure, dryly. " Have you then decided against me, too ? That happy day it was only mademoiselle who crushed my hopes." '^ I ? " asked Laure ; " what have I to do with it ? " " Can you ask ? Do you not see that it is not Mademoiselle Josephine, but you What am I saying ? but, alas you I understand too well." "No, monsieur," said Laure, with a puzzled air, " I do not understand. Not one word of all you are saying' do I comprehend. I am sure it is Josephine and not me for I am only a child." " You a child an ang-el like you ? "



!

;

!

Ask any

them," said she, pouting-; *' they will tell you I am a child and it is to that I owe this conversation, no doubt; if you did not look on me as a child, you would not dare take this liberty with me," said the young- cat, scratching- without a moment's notice. " Ah, mademoiselle, do not be angvy. *'

of

;

I

was wrong-." "Oh, never mind.

Children are little creatures without reserve, and treated accordingly, and to

notice

them

is

to

honor them." " Adieu, then, mademoiselle. Try to believe no one respects you more than

"Yes,

us part, for there is Dard's house and I begin to suspect that Josephine never sent you." let

;

I confess it."

"There, he confesses it. I thought What a dupe I have so all along been "I will offend no more," said Riviere, humbly. !

!

!

!

"We shall

see."

God bless you

find friends as sincere as I

!

am,

and more to your taste " " Heaven hear your praj'ers '* replied the malicious thing, casting up her eyes !

!

with a mock-tragic

air.

Edouard sighed a chill conviction that she was both heartless and empt^'^ fell on ;

him. word.

He

turned awaj'^ without another She called to him with a sudden

airy cheerfulness that

made him

start.

have

"Ah.

Speak, mademoiselle."

"You

have made a conquest." " I have a difficulty in believing mademoiselle."

"Oh,

is

it

not

a

lady," said

j^ou,

little

Malice.

"Ah!

then

it

is

possible,"

was the

bitter reply.

"Something better — less

terrestrial,

you know, it is a savant. You jumped, you spoke, you conquered Doctor St. Aubin, that da3^ What do jou think he sa3'S ? " " I have no idea." "He says you are handsome " (opening her eyes to the full height of astonishment). " He says you are graceful and, indeed, it was not a bad jump, I have been looking at it since; and, oh. Mon" sieur Riviere, he says j'^ou are modest " " Did he say all this before you ? ;

!

!

!

"Yes." " Heaven reward him " !

"You

agree with me that it was odd he should have ventured on these state, ments before me ; but these savans can face

any amount

You

all this ?

did

me

of contradiction."

the honor to contradict

"

"I did not fail." " Thank j^ou, mademoiselle." " That is right, be unjust. No, monsieur ; to detract from undeniable merit was not my real object; but not being quite such a child as some people think, I contradicted him, in order to to confirm him in those good sentiments and the proof is that the doctor I succeeded desires your acquaintance, monsieur; and now I come to the favor I have to ask you." " Ah, yes the favor." " Be so kind as to bestow your acquaintance on Monsieur St. Aubin," said Laure, her manner changing from sauciness to the timidity of a person asking a favor. " He will not discredit my recommendation. Above all, lie will not make difficulties, as we ladies do, for he is

— — ;

;

" Adieu, mademoiselle.

May you

—I

He returned all curiosity. " And a favor to ask you."

"

I do."

"

" Staj^, monsieur, I forgot something to tell 3'ou."





— WHITE

worth knowing". In short, believe me, it will be an excellent acquaintance for you and for him," added she, with

LIES.

grace of the De Beaurepaires. " What say you, monsieur ? " Riviere was mortified to the heart's

all

the

core.

''

She refuses to know

thought he, "but she

me

will use

make me amuse that

herself,"

my

love to

man."

His heart swelled against her injustice and ingratitude, and his crushed vanity turned old

to strychnine.

" Mademoiselle," said he, bitterly and doggedly, but sadly, "were I so happy as to have your esteem, m\'^ heart would overflow, not only on the doctor, but on But if I every honest person around. must not have the acquaintance I value more than life, suffer me to be alone in the world, and never to say a word either to Dr. St. Aubin or to any human creature, if I can help it." The imperious young beauty drew herself up.

monsieur you teach me how a child should be answered that forgets herself, and asks Dieul asks a favor of a stranger a perfect stranger," added she, with a world of small illit,

;





nature.

Could one of the dog-daj^s change to midwinter in a second, it would hardl}'^ seem so cold and cross as Laure de Beaurepaire turned from the smiling, saucy fairy of the

moment

before.

Edouard felt a portcullis of ice come down between her and him. She courtesied and glided away. He bowed and stood frozen to the spot. He felt so lonely and so bitter, he must go to Jacintha for something to lean on and scold. He put his handkerchief up in the tree, and out came Jacintha, curious. "You left the clout at home, I bet what a head well, well, tell us." "A fine blunder you made, Jacintha. !



was Mademoiselle Josephine at Dard's." " Do you

call

" Yes

Wh}'-,

!



that a blunder ingrate ?" it is not Josephine I

love."

"Yes,

!

—fancj^

!

not

seeing

it

is

Mademoiselle

Laure."

"Laure! that " She

child

"

?

is not a child

;

she

is

quite the



Don't call her a child she objects to it it puts her in a passion." " You have deceived me," said Jacintha reverse.



severely.

" Never

!

"You have. You never breathed Laure's name to me." " No more I did Josephine's." if

" Didn't 3^ou ? Are you sure ? Well, you did not, what has that to do with

it ?

You

pretended to be in love with

my

young lady." " No with one of them, I said." " Well and how was I to guess by " that it was Laure ? "And how were you to guess it was !

!

Josephine? " " There was no guessing in the case if it was not Josephine, anybody with sense would have told a body it was Laure but you are mad. Besides, who would look at Laure when Josephine was by ? Mademoiselle Laure is very well she has a pretty little face enough, but she is not a patch upon mademoiselle." ;

" So be

It

71

" Change of wind then since yesterday!" " No no How can you be so stupid

really





"

;

;

"Why,

it

is," replied Jacintha.

But

!

;

me frown." " Why, what

is the matter with you ?" " The matter 'is, that I wash my hands of the whole affair, it is infamous." Jacintha then let him know, in her own

language, that such frightful irregularities as this could not pass in an ancient famil}'', where precedent and decorum " The reigned, and had for centuries.

must be got off our hands then let the .younger take her turn." To gild the pill of decorum, she returned "Be more to her original argument. elder daughter first

"No! no!"

Jacintha, you are blind.

way you women

are no judges ; of female beauty. They are both lovely, but Laure is the brightest, the gayest Oh, her smile It seems brighter than ever now for I have seen her frown, Jacintha ; think of that and pit}'' me. I have seen her frown." "And if 3^ou look this way you may see this is the

;





.



WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

72 reasonable,

She

my

son, above

all, less

blind.

she is frisky but she is not like Josephine, the belle of belles." Edouard, in reply, anxious to conciliate his only friend, affected to concede the palm of beauty to the elder sister, but he sug-g-ested that Laure was quite beautiful enough for ordinary purposes such as to be fallen in love with nearer his own ag"e, too, than Josephine. He was proceeding- adroitly to suggest that he stood hardly high enough in France to pretend to the heiress of Beaurepaire, and must not look above the younger branch of that ancient tree, when Jacintha, who had not listened to a word he was saying, but had got over her surprise, and was now converted to his side by her own reflections, interrupted him. ''And therefore, yes," said this vacillating personage, carr3ang out an internal chain of reasons. " Next, I could not promise you Josephine, but Laure you shall have if you can be content with her." is nice,

;





The boy threw his arms round her neck. ''Quite content with Laure," said he "quite content, you dear Jacintha." Then his countenance

"I forgot,"

discussion one forgets so."

"

cried

Jacintha,

have just lost her forever." Jacintha put her hands on her

in

hips,

respectfulW !" repeated Jacin" You really are not safe to g-o alone. Nevertheless, I can't be alwaj^s at his elbow. Do j^ou know what you have done ? "

"No." You have made

"

her hate you, that

is

all."

Riviere defended himself. " It was so unjust to refuse

me

her ac-

quaintance, and then ask me to amuse that ancient personage." Jacintha looked him in the face, sneering like a fiend " Listen to a parable. Monsieur the Blind," said she. " Once there was a little boy rnadl^^ in love with raspberry

jam." " A thing I hate." " It is false, monsieur

one does not hate raspberry jam. He came to the store closet, where he knew there were a score jars of it, and oh misery ^the door was locked. He kicked the door and ;





!

wept bitterly." " Poor child, his grief affects me." "Naturally, monsieur a fellow-feeling. His mamma came and said, Here is the key,' and g-ave him the ke3\ And wliat did he do ? Wh3'^, he fell to cr3nng and roaring-, and kicking the door. I don't wa-wa-wa-wa-nt the ke3'^-e3"-ey. I wa-a" and ant the jam oh oh oh oh Jacintha mimicked to the life the mingled grief and ire of infanc3^ debarred its jam. Edouard wore a puzzled air, but it was only for a moment the next he hid his face in his hands, and cried "Fool! fool! fool!" '



!

!

!

!

'

;

"I shall not contradict you," said his Mentor, with affected politeness. " She was my best friend." "Who doubts it?" " Once acquainted with the doctor, I could visit at Beaurepaire." "ParUeul'' " She had thought

quest.

mademoiselle," cried Jacintha, "you are coming on pretty well for a novice. There is one that has a head. I say,

You thanked and

"Very

tha, with disdain.

'

I

knuckles downward. "Now, then," said she, with something between a groan and a grin, "what have you been at? " He related his interview, all but the last passage. Jacintha congratulated him. ""Wh3'', it g"oes swimmi'ngl3\ You are vevj lucky. I wonder she spoke to you at all out there all alone. In Dard's cottage I knew she would, because she could not help. Well." Then he told her Laure's parting- re-

"

I declined

!



fell.

said he; "in the heat of

" Forgot what ? " some alarm.

" No, indeed, I did not. oh very respectfully^"

blessed her, etc."

of a way to reconm3^ wishes Avith this terrible etiquette that reigns here." cile

" She thinks

to

more purpose than you

do— that much

is

clear."

:

WHITE " Nothing is left now but to ask her pardon and to consent I am off." "No, you are not," and Jacintha laid " Will you a grasp of iron on him. is not one blunder a day be quiet? enough ? If you go near her now, she will affront you, and order the doctor not to speak to you." " Oh, Jacintha your sex then are " fiends of malice ?







!

" While it lasts. Luckil3'- with us nothing does last very long. Take your orders from me." " Yes, general," said the young man, touching his hat. "Don't go near her till .you have made the doctor's acquaintance that is easily done. He walks two hours on the east road every day, with his feet in the puddles and his head in the clouds." " But how am I to get him out of the clouds ? " " With the first black beetle you meet." " black beetle " " Ay catch her when you can. Have her ready for use in your handkerchief and saj'^s j'^ou, ' Excuse pull a long face me, monsieur, I have the misfortune not to know the Greek name of this merchandise here.' Sa^'- that, and behold him launched. He will christen the beast in Hebrew and Latin as well as Greek, and tell 3"ou her history down from the flood next he will beg her of you, and out will come a cork and a pin, and behold the creature impaled. Thus it is that man loves beetles. He has a thousand pinned ;

A

!

!

:

:

down

at

home —beetles,

butterflies,

and

so forth. When I go near the lot with my duster he trembles like an aspen. I pretend to be going to clean them, but it is to see the face he makes, for even a

domestic requires to laugh but I never do clean them, for after all he is more stupid than wicked, poor man I have not therefore the sad courage to annihi:

!

late

him."



" Let us return to our beetle what will his tirades about the antiquity of the beetle advance me? "

" Wretch one begins about a beetle, but one ends Heaven knows where." She turned suddenly grave. ''AH this does

I

!

LIES.

73

not prevent my pot from being on the fire;" and, her heart of hearts being now in the kitchen. Riviere saw it was useless to detain her body, so, thanking her warml}', made at once for the east road.

Sure enough he fell in with the doctor, but not being armed with an insect, he had to take refuge in a vegetable the fallen elm. He told St. Aubin he had employed a person to keep his ears open, and, if anything transpired at either of the taverns, let him know. "You have done well, monsieur," said the doctor " when the wine goes in the



;

secrets ooze out."

The next time they met Riviere was enormous chrj'salis. He had found it in a hedge, and was

furnished with an

struck with its singular size. He produced it and with modest diffidence and twinkling eye sought information. The doctor's eye glittered. "The death's head moth " he cried " the death's head with enthusiasm moth a great rarity in this district. Where found j^ou this?" Riviere undertook to show him the !



!

place. It was half a league distant. Coming and going he had time to make friends with St. Aubin, and this was the easier

that the old gentleman, who was a physiognomist as well as ologist, had seen

goodness

and

sensibility

in

Edouard's

face.

At the end of the Avalk he begged the doctor to accept the chrj^salis. The doctor coquetted.

"That would be a robbery. You take an interest in these things yourself at " least I hope so The young rogue confessed modestly to the sentiment of entomology, but "the government worked him so hard as to leave him no hopes of shining in so high a science," said he, sorrowfully. The doctor pitied him. "A 3'oung man of j'^our attainments and tastes to be debarred from the everlasting secrets of Nature, by the fleeting politics of the da}", in which it happens so seldom that any great principle is evolved."



!



I

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

74

Riviere shrugg-ed his shoulders. " Somebody must do the dirty work," said he, chuckling' inwardly.

Brief

!

the chrj^salis went to Beauin the pocket of a grateful

:

repaire

for this. My heart beats at the idea." " Fiddle-de-dee The baroness and the doctor are on the south terrace. But I am not to know that. I shall show you up to the baroness, and she won't be there you understand. Run to the front door; I'll step round and let you in."

was not prepared

man.

"Oh, wise Jacintha " said the lover, *' I thought you were humbugging me, but !

is in these things. We are a league nearer one another than yesterday." The doctor related his conversation with young Riviere, on whom he pronounced high encomiums, leveling them at Laure the detractor from his merit, as if he was planting so many death-blows. Her saucy eyes sparkled with fun you might have lighted a candle at one and exploded a mine at the other but not a syllable did she utter. The white flag waved from the battlements of Beaurepaire. So (there's a sentence for j^ou ^there's there's earthly thunder!) the a ring statesman dropped his statistics, and took up his hat and fled. ''Only to tell j^ou you are in high favor, and I think you might risk a



his heart

CHAPTER

:

;





the baroness

?

"

not? We shall be obliged to her have a finger in the pie, soon or

late."

"But

on her, and was repulsed

I called

with scorn."

"

Ha ha

I remember you came to your highness 's patronage Well, now I will tell you a better game to pla3^ at Beaurepaire than that. Think of some favor to ask us come with your hat off. We like to grant favors we are used to !

!

offer us

!

:

:

that.

We

don't

know how

to

receive

them." " But what favor can I ask ? " " Oh anything so that you can make it sound a favor." "I have it; I will ask leave to shoot ;

!

Beaurepaire." and that will be an excuse for giving me some more birds," said she, who had alwaj-^s an eye to the pot. *' Come forward." ''What, now? this very moment? OA'er

" Good



is

—come

a in,

monsieur. But, mademoiselle, where is madame the baroness ? " "My mother is on the terrace, Jacintha," said Josephine. " I will seek her ; be seated, monsieur."

Edouard began to stammer apologies. " Such a trifle to trouble the baroness with and you, mesdemoiselles."



do not trouble us, monsieur," Laure; "you see we go on working as if nothing had happened." " That is flattering. Mademoiselle Laure." " But we flutter," murmured Josephine, too low for Riviere to hear ; then, when the kindly beauty had softened down her said

"Why let

the baroness, here

young monsieur with a request

"You

call," said Jacintha.

"What, on

"Madame

XI.

:



sister's

piquancy, she said aloud

:

" Well, monsieur, I think I can answer for our mother that she will not refuse one whom we must always look on as our friend." "But not your acquaintance," said Edouard, tenderly, though reproachfully-. "Monsieur then cannot forgive us a repulse that cost us as much as it could him." Here was an unexpected turn. Josephine's soft eyes and deprecatory voice seemed to impl}^ that she might be won to retract a repulse for which she weno so near apologizing. "Jacintha is right," thought he, " she is the belle of belles."



"

"

WHITE





LIES.

;

75

"Ah mademoiselle," said he, warmly, " how g-ood you are to speak so to me " The door opened, and the baroness came

had a nervous desire to laugh with her

in alone.

guidly,

!

!

Edouard rose and bowed The baroness courtesied, gravely waved him to a seat, and sat down herself. "They tell me, monsieur, I have it in my power to be of some slight service to you all the better." *' Yes, madame but it is a trifle, and .



;

I

am

in consternation to think I should

have deranged you." "Nowise, monsieur;

I was about to when Jacintha informed me of the honor you had done me. Then mon

come

in

sieur wishes



"Madame, I am a sportsman. I am a neighbor of 3'ours, madame, though I have not the honor to be known to you." " That arises doubtless from this, mojithat I so seldom go into the world," said the lad 3', with polished insincerity. " Well, madame, I am a sportsman, and shoot in your neighborhood, and the birds fly over into 3'^our ground. Now, madame, if I might follow them, I should often have a good day's sport." "Monsieur," said the old lady, with a faint smile, " follow those birds wherever I have a right to invite you. I must at the same time inform you that since France was reformed, or, as some think, deformed, it has not been the custom to give the lady of Beaurepaire amy voice in matters of this kind." " Madame," said Edouard, " permit me to separate myself in your judgment from those persons." "Monsieur has done that alreadj^," said the baroness, with all the grace of the old regime. Riviere bowed low. His head being down, he cast a furtive glance, and there was Josephine working with that conscious complacency young ladies mildly beam with when they are working and interested in a conversation. Laure, too, was working, but her head was turned away, and she was bursting with suppressed merriment. He felt uneasy "It is me she is quizzing" and yet he sieur,



so he turned

away

hastily.

"Monsieur," said the baroness, lan-

"may

ask, does

it

I,

without indiscretion,

afford

you much pleasure to

these birds? " "Not too much, madame, to truth but pursuit of anything inviting to our nature." " Ah " said Laure, dryly, kill

the

tell



is

!

off

very her

guard.

"Did you speak, my daughter? " said the baroness, coldly. "No, my mother," said Laure, a little frightened ; with all her sauce she dare no more put in her word,- uninvited, between her mother and a stranger, than she dare jump out of the window. "Besides," continued Riviere, "when a

man

tions



is

"Ah

!

very hard worked, these relaxamonsieur

is

hard worked " said !

the baroness; her eye dwelling with a delicate ironj'- on his rosy face. He did not perceive it it was too subtle. :

He answered

with a shade

of

pomp

" Like all who serve the state." " Ah monsieur serves the state." She seemed to congeal word by word. The young ladies exchanged looks of

— —



!

dismay.

" I serve France," said Riviere, gently and something in his manner and in his ;

3^outh half disarmed the old lady

but not she said, as she rose to conclude the interview " Well, monsieur (ah you will forgive me if I cannot prevail on myself to call you citizen ") this with ironical courtesy. " Call me what 3'ou please, madame, except your enemy." And he said this with so much feeling, and this submission of the conquering to the conquered party was so graceful, that the water came into Josephine's eyes, and Laure's bosom rose and fell, and her needle went slower and slower. " Citizens have done me too much ill," explained the baroness, with a somber quite

;

:

!



look.

"Mamma,"

said

Josephine,

implor-

ingly.

" They could not have known you, ma-

——

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

7G

dame,"

said Edouard,



"as

even in this presumption seem to do;" and he looked beseech-

short interview

I,

—forgive my

ingly at her.

'*At

monsieur," cried the old

least,

and almost gayly, ** it is a good beginning, Ithink." She courtesied, and that meant "go." He bowed to her and the young ladies, and retired demurely one twinkle of triumph shot out of his eye toward Laure. The baroness turned to her daughters. " Have you any idea who is this little lady, kindly,

;

Republican who has invented the idea of asking permission to shoot the partridges of another, and who, be it said, in passing, " has the face of an angel ? They looked at one another. Laure spoke " Yes, mamma, we have an idea well, he is, you know the purse." The baroness flushed. "Ah! And why did you not tell me,





children

?"

mamma,

" Oh,

it

would have been so

awkward for you, we thought." " You are very considerate." " And we must have whispered

and

"No, mamma," said Laure humbly, and the next moment she colored all of a sudden, and the next moment after she looked at her mother, and her eyes began fill.

" Let us compound, mademoiselle," said Instead of crying, because the baroness. speaks more sharply than mother old your she means, which would be absurd at your age, you shall tell me why you laughed." " Agreed, mamma," cried Mademoiselle " then beApril, vulgarly called Laure he has been shooting he cause he over your ground for two months past without leave." '

'

;



"Oh

!

!

!



impossible."

" I have heard the guns, and seen him and Dard doing it. And now he has come to ask for leave with the face of an angel, and oh mamas 3'^ou remarked he he him ^he and he complimented ma, you



!

!

— —

!

!



men

!

!

!



after instead does that matter ?

of

before.

— time

What



ha ha ha ha ha " " Humph " said the bai-oness, and seemed very thoughtful, and mighty little amused. Edouard went home exulting he had !

!

!

so

flies

!

!

!

:

inserted the wedge.

He little thought that Mademoiselle April had sacrificed him to a laugh, still less that a council of war had been convened and was even now sitting on him. Had he known this, the deluded j-outh that went along exulting would have gone trembling, and there he would have been mistaken again. Yet there are two hundred thousand people that believe a gypsy girl can predict the future. She cannot— the wisest of us cannot angels cannot, Satan cannot, though fifty thousand of my Yankee friends have assumed as a self-evident proposition that he can.

it,

that is so ill-bred." " More so than to giggle when I receive a visitor ? " asked the baroness, keenly.

to

absorbed the praise witli such an ingenuous gravity ha ha ha After all, it is but reversing the period at which such applications are made by ordinary sports-



The baroness sent

for St.

Aubin to ask

way

of keeping the citizen at a distance. The doctor listened with great interest, and often smiled as the baroness put her portions of the puzzle to his portions of it, and the whole enigma lay revealed. " Aha " said he, at last, "the young rogue has taken me by m^^ foible ; but I

his advice as to the best

!

will

be revenged."

" The question

is

not your revenge, but

Jam to do." "Ah " said the doctor, "you

what

require " advice what you should do ? " Certainly I do." "Humph!" said the doctor, and re"then mj'^ advice is flected profoundly !

my

:

them alone." " Let them alone," replied the baroness, sharply "that is easily said." "It is as easily done," replied he,

let



quietly.

The baroness

stared,

and a

faint flush

rose in her delicate cheek, at her friend's cool

way

of disposing of a question that

so embarrassed her.



—" WHITE

LIES.

"What

" Trust to Nature " said the doctor, !

earth

benig-nantly. *'

Trust to Nature " screamed the and dismay in "

"]5ro,

to her.

is

man mad ?

the

madarae She will

;

nor

is

You make me regret, sir, that I disturbed your graver studies for a matter so little serious as this," was the bitter *^

answer veiled

in tones of perfect polite-

?

"

" Platinum ? " "No. Do you give it up?^-doyou? do you ? do you ? ice." " Ice ? "





— — —

"Moral ice, not physical not solidified water, but solidified etiquette congealed essence of grandmamma custom, ceremony, propriety when down at 32 Fahrenheit.

ness.

"

stupid."

"No."

Nature: trust

and the young- citizen together quite quickly enough without our inflaming them by opposition."

the hardest substance on

is

"

"No*." " Well, then, steel

"

bring- the young- lady

?

"Adamant,

!

old aristocrat, with horror

her face

•J"?

My

friend,

if

you wished

for the sort

of advice that political prejudice or other

blinding influence gives, I was indeed the wrong person to send for." "But," continued the lady, haughtilj^

not deigning to notice his last sentence, " you will make my apologies to the spiders, to

whom

are, I conclude,

and their works you

about to return."

The doctor rose at

this piece of polite



strength, and slipperiness.

insolence.

"Since you permit me, madarae. I shall find Nature in spiders, and admire her but not more than I do in the young lady and the young citizen who are now submitting to her sweetest law." " Enough monsieur enough " "As I myself in former times, when :



!

!

youth—" " As that must be v^er}^ long ago, and as among the results marriage has not been one, perhaps it would be as well to spare me the recital," said the baroness, too spiteful to let slip this chance of a slap, fair or unfair.

"True, madame. Well, then, let us an unimpeachable example as yourself who have been married in your younger da3's not deeming the birds in spring unworthy imitation take

"How many have jumped as high as they could, and come down as hard as the\^ could, on purpose to break this ice and been broken ? You can try it, mesdames, but not by my advice. "By a just balance of qualities, this ice, once broken, is the hardest thing in the world to mend. " Human ice, once liquefied, cannot be congealed back to its original smoothness,













deigned " Monsieur, our conference is ended." The doctor went off with a malicious grin much he cared for his old friend's grand airs and biting tongue. The only creature he stood in awe of was Ja;

cintha.

" Oh, that duster " !

" Nature glides

in

and unrecognized,

unthanked, keeps the thawed from freezing again, the frozen from petrifying." When the ladies of Beaurepaire darted from their famiW oak, and caught Riviere in his felonious act, the}^ broke the ice. Josephine's attempt to repair it on the spot was laudable but useless. It was not in nature that this young

man and

these two young women could ever be again the strangers they were before.

Whenever they met in the park, he had always a word read}', and they answered. It was but a sly word or two but these words were like little sticks judiciouslyinserted as a fire burns up. ;

Factotum Dard co-operated. So powerful was Factotum's destiny, that even when he was laid up in his armchair another little odd job fell upon him; he became a go-between, though unable to stir.



Lovers met to nurse him. First would come the two ladies, or sometimes only Laure, and curious enough in less than ten minutes Edouard was

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

78

sure to arrive, very hot ; it happened so I have no idea ; indeed it would be idle to attempt to account for all the strange coincidences that occur. Let me rather mention here, apologizing- for its complete irrelevance, that the j^oung man had been much puzzled what to do with the twenty pieces of gold. "They are sacred," said he. But eventually he laid them out, and ten more, in a new telescope with an immensely powerful lens.

—how,

by

mouthpiece

Aubin, highly approved the purchase, and argued great things for a young man who turned his lodgings into an observator3^ '* Also a politician who looks heavenward is not of everj^day occurrence," said the dry doctor. One day that both young ladies and Riviere met round black-foot * Dard, that worthy, who had hitherto signalized himself by the depth of his silent reflections, and by listening intentlj'^ to good books as read by Josephine, and by swearing at his toe, rather than b}'^ any prolonged conversational efforts, suddenly announced his desire to put a few queries. The auditory prepared to sustain the shock of them. " It is about the lives of the suffering saints I have been reading to console him." thought Josephine. " What I want to know is, how it happens that you aristocrats come to see me so often ? " Science,

its

"Oh, Dard," you know ? "

"No! :

onlj""

Josephine,

"don't

I don't."

"Don't you do

said

St.

see

think of the

is

the least

number

we can

of little

odd

Denis I have." " I have myself seen you work in the garden, drive the cow, chop wood, alas poor lad, once too often, and take fish for us out of the pond, and "Stop, mademoiselle, it is no use .your trying to count them. Heaven has given !



*

A

fingers. -

"Well, then, you see you agree with You have every claim on our g'rati-

us.

tude."

"Oh, then, it is the jobs I did up at Beaurepaire that gain me these visits." "Yes! but above all the good heart that prompted them." Dard was silent a moment then suddenly bursting out into an offhand, reck" Oh as to that," said less, jaunty tone he, "I am not one of your fellows that are afraid of work. few little jobs more or * less make no difference to me. Too much of one thing is good for nothing,' as the saying goes and * changes are lightsome.' " His next observation betrayed more candor than tact. "It was to please Jacintha I did them, not out of regard for you, though." "What have we to do with that?" "we benefited by said Laure, sharplj'them and now you shall benefit by them. Ah, Dard if we were but a little richer, we would make you so comfortable." " I wish you were the richest citizens in France," said he bluntly. Edouard walked to the gate of the Pleasance with the ladies, and talked nineteen to the dozen, to leave no room for them to say Adieu and so get rid of him. They did not hate him for not giving them that chance. He gave the ice no time to freeze again. And all this time he was making friends with Doctor St. Aubin and as things will turn in this world, or rather twist, the way least expected, he got to like the doctor and greatly to admire him. He was a mine of knowledge, and his tastes were almost as wide as his information. He relished Nature more perhaps than anything else but he was equally read3'' with poetry, with history, and, what charmed young Edouard, with politics of the highest order. In their graver converse he made the young man see how great and rare a thing is a statesman, how common and small a thing is a placeman. He poured :

:

!

A



:

:

!

;

it

jobs you have done for us." " Oh, as to that, yes, I have, by St.

Scotch word for a go-between

heartless pun.

no man fingers enough to count my little odd jobs, much less a woman," added he, getting confused between the jobs and the

:

excuse the

;

"

"

WHITE examples drawn from many nations and epochs, and sounded trumpet notes of g-reat state policy, and the patriotism and on these occasions it is founded on he would rise into real eloquence, and fire

many

;

the young heart of Citizen Riviere. In short, they became friends, and Riviere no sooner felt they were friends than his conscience smote him, and he said to himself '* I will tell him all he is a good man a wise man a just man. I'm not ashamed of my love. I will entreat him :

:





my

to he on

"

My

'*

I

have a con-

and hours for the chance look.

day

He looked at his friend the doctor twinkled from head to foot. *' Perhaps it will not take you altogether by surprise." ** shall see." Then Edouard told his story as people

We

How he had come stanch Republican. How he had seen two 3'oung ladies walking so calm, gentle, and sad, always in black. How their beauty and grace had made them interesting, but their misown

district

this

stories.

a

fortunes had made them sacred. How after many meetings a new feature had arisen in their intercourse ; Mademoiselle Laure had smiled on him, as earth, he

thought, had never smiled before. (The doctor grinned here, as manj'- an old fellow has grinned on like occasion, mindful of the days when he was a young fool and did not know it and now he is an old one and doesn't know it.) This had gone through his heart. Then, suppressing Jacintha, he told his friend he had learned from a sure source the family was in bitter poverty. The doctor sighed. The ardent desire to save them, coupled with the difficultly, and their inaccessibilit3% had almost driven him mad. ;

"I

lost all

my

color," cried he, half

Then he told the story of the purse, and how happy he had felt when he dropped it and stole away, and happier when he heard it had been found, and how, after all, that attempt to save them had failed *'and now, monsieur," he said, "my heart often aches, and I burn and freeze by turns. I watch hours angrily.

;

I succeed,

if

of

a word or a

am miserable all that I am the happiest man

France for half an hour. Then I go back to my little room. It looks like a prison after that. The sun seems to have left the earth, and taken hope with him. Oh, my friend, much as I love her, there are moments I wish I had never seen her. She I love will be my ruin. But I shall love her all the same; it is not her fault. My I am in a fever night and day. in

once so pleasant, monsieur, pity

Ah

now.

"I

:

to

;

If I fail, I

are tasteless advise

me and

!

me!"

make."

tell their

79

duties,

side."

friend," he began,

fession to

LIES.

of

will tell me first, are j'ou conscious a slight tremor on the skin when you " the morning ? ;

wake in "No."

" Occasional twitches, mostly in the region of the thigh?" " No yes how could you know that? but such trifles are not worth our atten!



I



tion."

" Diagnostics are not worth our attention!" "No, no! it's my heart! it's my heart "



!

"My young friend," said the doctor, "you have done well to come to me. You must do one of two things the :

choice I leave to you."

" Thank you,

my friend

You must either morrow — "

" !

leave this district to-

" I would rather leave the earth

!

"

Or—" " Ah or—" !

" You must go with me to the baroness, and, backed by me, ask leave to court her daughter openly like a man." "Backed by you! am I so fortunate? Are you on my side ? " "Firm as a rock!" shouted the doctor " and what is more I have been your ;

camp Beauweeks also I have watched your little maneuvers with me. Citizen Cherubin, with no less interest and curiosity than I watch a j^oung bird building its first nest, or a silkworm secret ally, a traitor in the

repaire, this three

;

spinning her silk, or a spider her web, or any other cunning inspired Dy great Nat-

"

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

80

Oh, you need not hide your head, fox with the face of the Madonna I awaited this revelation from you I knew it would come. I am glad it is come so ure.

:

:

soon a want of candor is unmanly, and a great fault in youth you shall now learn how wise it is to be candid. Now tell me, Edouard " Ah thank 3'^ou, monsieur " ;

;



!

!



" Your parents would they consent match between you and a yonug lady of rank, but no wealth ? " !

to a

''Monsieur, I am not so fortunate as to have any parents unless 3'^ou will let me



look on you as one.''





"This, dear child! I consent my snuff-box good left it at home." " I have an uncle but you know one is not bound to obej'^ an uncle, except, perhaps " When his wishes are the echo of our own then we are."



!

;





" Besides,

my

uncle loves

me —at

least,

I think so."

Oh impossible. You must be mistaken." " Monsieur is too good. I do not please all as I have, by good fortune, pleased you, my friend. But, in fact, my uncle has no aversion toward the aristocracy." *'All the better. Well, my young lover, I am satisfied. All the battle, then, will be at Beaurepaire. Have you courage? " " I am full of it only sometimes it is the courage of hope, sometimes of de''

!

;

spair."

" Call on me to-morrow with the courage of hope." " What, at the chateau " cried the young man, all in a flutter. ''Ay, at the impregnable castle itself, !

where, preposterous as it may appear, the right of receiving my visitors is conceded me. Were it not, I should take it." "It does me good to hear a man talk so boldly about the chateau." " I shall present you to my friend the baroness."

"Oh Heavens!" " She will receive you as a glacier the Polar Star."

"I

she

I shiver in advance." to me, your advocate, in other words, to reason and good sense feel

will.

"And, deaf

personified,

ahem

!

she will yield to j^ou. and behold us

My vanity will be shocked,

enemies for life." Riviere shook his head despondingly. "Deaf to you, yield to me how can this



be?" "Because she

is

the

female

of our

—a thing to be persuaded, not con. vinced trust to me —have faith in Nature —and come at twelve o'clock." species

;

St. Aubin, on reaching the chateau, found the dun pony standing at the door. He hurried into the dining-room, and there were the notary and the young ladies, all apparently in good spirits. The notary had succeeded. He showed the doctor, as he had alreadj'^ showed the ladies, a penal contract by which Bonard bound himself not to sell the estate, or assign the loan, to any one. The doctor was enchanted, shook the notary again and again by the hand, and took him upstairs to the baroness. "There is no further necessity'- for concealment," said he, " and it would be most unjust not to give her an opportunity

of

thanking 3'ou."

The baroness looked rather

cold

and

formal at sight of the notary, but her manner soon changed. Although the doctor underrated the danger the chateau had just escaped, yet at the bare mention she turned as pale as death; both her daughters and the doctor observed this. " Strange," said she, " I had a presenti-

ment."

When she found the danger was past, a deep sigh showed how the mere relation had taken away her breath. "Heaven reward you, monsieur," cried she " the last time you were here, you gave me advice which offended me, probably because it was wise advice. Accept my excuses." " They are unnecessary, madame. I could not but respect your prejudices, ;

though

"In

I suffered

by them."

future, monsieur, count

on more

candor, and perhaps more humility

;

that

;

WHITE should my impetuosity not deter you from ever wasting* good advice on me ag"am." "On the contrary, madame, if you could give me an hour to-morrow, I should be glad to show you a means by which the estate and chateau can be placed above all risk, not only from a single creditor, but from the whole body, were they to act hostilely and in con-

LIES. "

is,

cert."

hear " cried the doctor. I shall be at your disposal." ''At this interview, I request that the may be also heiress of Beaurepaire " Hear

!

!

"

present."

"

What

necessitj^ for that

the baroness,

?

" inquired

Am

I mad ? to talk of the life-holder. the next heir. Why, Josephine is the present proprietor." "I!" cried Josephine, with astonishment, not unmixed with horror. The notary's lip curled with contempt at the little party that had not even asked themselves to whom the property belonged. ''Mademoiselle de Beaurepaire will be present," said the baroness.

twelve o'clock, Edouard

Riviere stood at the door, with something like

an

ice javelin

his backbone.

running the length

The baroness was

in

of liis

eyes the most awful human creature going. He would have feared an interview with the First Consul one shade less, or half a shade. Jacintha, smiling and winking, showed him into St. Aubin's study. The doctor received him warml}', and, after a few words of kind encouragement, committed him to the beetles, while he went to intercede with the baroness. The baroness stopped him cunningly at the first word. " Ah my good doctor, spare me this topic for once. The most disagreeable draught ceases to be poignant when administered every day for three weeks." !

(F)

you and I only were concerned in would prescribe it no longer, but

those we love are deeply interested in it." "Josephine, my daughter," cried the baroness, "are j^ou deeply interested in marrying Citizen Riviere with a face " like a girl?



"No mamma !

"

" !



We

must not ask Laure, I think she rather too young for such topics." " Not a bit too j'oung, mamma, if you please; but I lack the inclination." " In short, somehow or another, you can both dispense with the doctor's friend for a husband. Let him go then. Now, if the doctor had proposed himself, we should all three be pulling caps for is

him."

sharplj''.

" Oh," said the doctor, *^ I understand the next heir's formal consent is required to arrangements made for the benefit of

A little before

If

I

it,

81

A little peal of laughter, like as of silver rang out at the doctor's expense. never moved a muscle. " Permit me to recall to you the general substance of the reasons I have urged for admitting the visits of my friend Monsieur Edouard Riviere at this house." "A sort of precis, or recapitulation," remarked the baroness, dryly. bells,

He

"Exactly." " Such as precedes the final dismissal of an exhausted subject." "Or makes the intelligent hearer at last

comprehend and retain

it.

"First, and above all, this young man is good and virtuous then he loves with delicacy with rare delicacy ; am I right, mesdemoiselles ? Well I await your ;





answer— Cowards !— and

with

!

He burns

to do

good to you

all.

ardor.

Now,

let

us soberly inquire, is the family in a position to scorn such a godsend ? Some fine day, when the chateau is sold over our heads, shall we not feel too late that

imprudence the charge

is

guilt in those

who have

of beloved ones as well as of

Look facts in the face, comprehend to-day what all the rest of France has long comprehended, that the Bourbons are snuffed out. They were little men, whom accident placed high, and accident could lay low. This themselves.

madame

;

Bonaparte's finger is thicker than their Well, if you can really doubt this, lean on your rotten reeds but not with

loins.

;

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

82

marr}^ one daughter to all 5'our weight a Royalist, but one into the rising dynasty; then we shall be safe, come what may, and this ancient but tottering house will not fall in our day, or by any ;

fault of ours."

"This may be prudence," said the baroness. *' I think it is but it is prudence so hard, worldly, and cynical, that, had I known it was coming, I think I ;

should have sent that child out of the

room." Laure

cast

per. *' Show me, then," said he, *Hhat you can rise to things less cynical and worldly than prudence. Look at the j'^oung man's

—his character."

" What do we know

of his character

?

"

!

!

!

" Be silent, m^^ child." ** Needs there a long string

—and find

beautiful,

of

scrib-

and

actions are good beyond the little

vulgar and the great vulgar to do or to admire ? ''What do 3"ou know of his character? You know that in a world which vaunts much and does nothing but egoism, sometimes bare egoism, sometimes gilt egoism, but always egoism, this poor boy has loved 3"ou all as angels love and as mortals don't, and like angels has done You know nothing? j'-ou good unseen. You know he is not rich, yet consecrated half his income to you, without hope even of thanks. Is it his fault he was found out ? No my young ladies there were too cunning for him, or you would never have known your angel friend. Read now those great Messieurs Corneille and Racine for a love so innocent, so delicate, so like a woman's, so like an !

not.

it

deaf to sentiment, blind to beauty of person and the soul ? Then be shrewd, be prudent, and be friends with the rising young citizen. I have measured him he is no dwarf. He was first at the Ecole Politechnique he won't be last in France. Are you too noble to be





prudent? then be noble enough to hold out the hand to the noble and good and for

their

own

sakes, unless,

twenty years' friendship, I am anything to jou in that case, oh, welcome them for mine." The baroness hung her head, but made no answer. "My mother," said Josephine, imploring\y, "the dear doctor is in earnest. I fear he may doubt our love for him if you refuse him. He never spoke so loud before. Mamma, dear mamma " after

;

!

"What

is

him plead "

his

own

I consent.

me

you wish

it

monsieur ? " " Only to receive

mj'-

do,

and

let

cause."

am

1

friend,

to

like Josephine.

I

do not love to have an old friend bawling

me."

at

" Thank you, sideration

what

blers to tell us

and

it

"Are you

What

do we know of his character ? Are we blind, then, or can we see virtue Is onl}^ when it comes to us on paper ? there nothing in our own souls that recognizes great virtues at sight, and cries, 'Hail! brother'?" " Yes yes there is " cried Laure, her eyes flaming. ''

for

beautiful

a look of defiance at Josephine for not being called a child and she was. St. Aubin winced, but kept his tem-

virtue

Search their immortal pages

angel's.

for

ladies,

my

for

feelings

your conyour

— and

ears."

" Where are you going " To fetch him " "What, to-day?"

?

"

!

"This minute." "

My

daughters, this was a trap. he ? In the Pleasance ? asked she, ironically, taking for granted he was much farther off. "No; in my room: trembling at the ordeal before him." " It is not too late to retreat better so than give me the pain of dismissing

Where

is

;

him."

"In one minute he Break

his heart

if

will

be with you.

you are quite sure

is any real necessity but at least gently." " That is understood. My child, take a turn on the terrace." Laure went out, after shaking her snowball at Josephine for being allowed to stay and she not.

there

do

it

;

WHITE " Oh, my dear friend, what a surprise have endured what a time you have been " " I have had a toug-h battle." " But you have won ? your reasons have prevailed ? " " My reasons ? straws One of them I

!

!



calls

them

No

my

!

heeded

reasons didn't I

;

!

so openly, fell

tell

forget which. to the earth unI

you they would?"

^'Oh, Heaven !" " But, luckily, in reasoning- I shouted. Then that angel Josephine said, Oh, my mother, we cannot refuse the doctor he '

;

— he

who never

has

shouted

New

definition of reason

Now go

lungs.

shouts.'

— an affair of

the

and show them your

pretty face." '•'Yes! 833'- ?

Oh,

what

my

friend,

shall I say

?

what

shall

I

"

LIES. "

83

How

can that be, monsieur

know her." "Ah, yes, madame!

not

?

—you

do



I know her: there are souls that speak through the countenance I have lived on hers too long not to know her. Say rather you do not know me ^you may well hesitate to allow one unknown to come near so great a treasure. There I am sure is the true obstacle. Well, madame, as my merits are small, let my request be moderate give me a trial. Let me visit you I am not old enough to be a hypocrite if I am undeserving, such an eye as yours will soon detect me jow will dismiss me, and I shall go at a word, for I am proud too, though I have so little to be proud of." " You do not appear to see, monsieur, that this little experiment will compromise :



:

— :

:

" What matters it what you say ? my daughter." " Not at all, madame Wisdom won't help you, folh^ won't hurt I promise it you; still, by way of being extremely shall not I swear I will not presume on cautious, I wouldn't utter too much good any opportunity your goodness shall give ;

;

sense. Turn two beseeching eyes upon her; add the language of your face to the logic of my lungs, and win.

Come."

:

:

" Madame,

this

is

Monsieur Edouard

Riviere, vaj friend."

A 'stately

reverence

from the baron-

ess.

" May my esteem and his own merits procure him at your hands favorable treatment, and should you find him timid and flurried, and little able to address you fluently, allow, I pray you, for his youth, for the modesty that accompanies merit, and for the agitation of his heart at such a moment. I leave you." Edouard, trembling and confused, stammered, scarcely above a whisper " Oh, madame, I feel I shall need all my friend's excuses"; and here his whisper died out altogether, and his tongue seemed to glue itself to something and lose the power of motion. :

" Calm yourself, monsieur

;

I listen

to

!

"

Ah madame,

the more I shall bless you will be so generous as not to refuse me." " But if it is my duty to refuse you ? " " Then I shall die, madame, that is all." "Childishness!" " And you will be sorr3\" "You think so!" " Oh, yes for madame has a good heart only she cannot see, and will not believe, h-h-how 1 1-love." " Child now if 3^ou cr^^, I will send 3'^ou away at once. One would say I am very

you

!

if

!



!

cruel,

senses,

but

and

I

am

not

—I

this child

is

am not.

place, these things are not

only in my In the first

done

in this

The approaches are made, not by the young madman himself, but by his way.

you."

"Madame, I love her.

merits

Consider, madame, it is only here that I can make you acquainted with my character you never leave the chateau, madame let me come to the chateau now and then, oh, pray let me come, madame the baroness " and he turned his beseeching eyes on her. "Was ever anj'thing so unreasonable ? "

me.

—but

I

I



do not deserve her but position is not what she

My

love her."

parents these open the treaty with the parent or parents of the lady." :



"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

84

*'But, madame, I am not so fortunate as to have a parent.*'

''What! no father?" " No, madams. I cannot even remember

my

"

"

''Madame, she died five years ago. Mademoiselle Josephine can tell 3'ou what I lost that day. If she was alive she would be about your age. Ah, no, madame you may be sure she is gone from me, or I should not kneel before you thus friendless. She would come to you and say, Madame, you are a mother as I am feel for me my son loves your daughter; he will die if you refuse him. Have pity on me and on my son. I know him he is not unworthy.' Oh, Mademoiselle Josephine, speak a word for me, I implore you ; for me who, less happj' than you, have no mother for me who speak so ill, and have so much need to speak well. I shall be rejected by my own fault. Can one have so much to say and say so little ? Can the heart be so full and the tongue so powerless ? My mother, you leave me " !

'





wet.

When

she saw herself detected, she at-

tempted no further secrec}-, but came ward, her hands still clasped.

father."

No mother ?

and both her white hands clasped together in mute supplication and her cheeks





"Ah,

no,

for-

my mother!" Then she "Do you not see she

turned to Edouard.

going to refuse you by letter because she has not the courage to look in j^our sweet face and strike you ? " " Ah, traitress traitress " shrieked the baroness. is

!

!

Edouard sighed. Josephine stood supplicating. " new light strikes me," cried the old lady: "what a horror! Why, Josephine my daughter is it possible you are interested to such a degree in

A









this—"

She turned her head awa^^ awaited his doom trembling with agitation, and wishing he had said anj^thing but what he had said he saw, too, a httle tremor pass over the baroness, but did not know how to interpret that. " The emotion such words cause me no, I cannot. My child, you shall leave me now. I will send j'^ou my answer by

Josephine lowered her lovely head. " Yes, my mother," said she, just above a whisper. The baroness groaned. Edouard, to comfort her, began " But, madame, it is not "Ah! hold your tongue," cried Josephine, hastily, in an accent of terror. The mystified one held his tongue. " She is right, monsieur," said the baroness dryly " leave her alone, she will have more influence with me than you. In a word, monsieur, I am about to consult my daughter in this wise and wellordered affair. Be pleased to excuse us a few minutes." He took his "Certainly, madame."

letter."

hat.

These last words were spoken in almost a coaxing tone, in a much kinder tone than she had ever used before, and Edouard's hopes rose. " Oh, 3^es, madame," said he innocently, " I prefer it so thank you, madame, from " the bottom of my heart, thank you He paused in the middle of his gratitude,

" I will send for you. Meantime, go and play with that other child on the terrace," said she, spitefully for all her short-lived feeling in his favor was gone now.



why

did

?

The baroness

rose.

Riviere

;

;

!

his surprise, the baroness's e3^es suddenly became fixed with horror and astonishment. He wheeled round to see

for, to

what direful object had so transfixed her, and caught Josephine behind him, but at some distance, looking at her

mother with

an imploring face, a face to melt a

tigress.



:

:

;

Monsieur Edouard bowed respectfully, and submitted demurelj^ to his penance. "All is ended," said the baroness; " the sentiments that have corrupted the nation have ended by penetrating into my famil^^ my eldest daughter flings herself at a man's head again it is not a man, but a boy, with the face of an angel."





Josephine glided to her mother's side,

and sank on her knees. " My mother, have some little confidence

"

WHITE

Am I so very foolish ? your Josephine I so very wicked?" And she laid her cheek ag-ainst her mother's. The old lady kissed her. thou shalt '*Thou shalt have him have him my well beloved have no fear thy mother loves thee too well to vex in

!

Am



:

:

!

85

I will not let^ her go too. trouble a second time ^the first struggle it is that tears us. Yet I knew it must come some day. But I did

afraid

give

I will

:



all this

But at this the old lady beg-an to sob and to cry *' They are taking- away :

children

!

children "



doctor,

die

Oh

:

"

Ah

!

" Nevertheless, it was a sorry triumph to come to a poor old woman from whom they had taken all except her daug-hters, and to rob her of them too ah " The doctor hung- his head then he stepped quickly up to her With great concern, and took her hand.



oh

!

!

all

oh

!

I love is

oh

!

:

My dear,

Ah

remember, away with our here comes one who would not understand them. He would say, What, have they all the toothache

tears,

I

!

my

friends

*

'

and Josephine seated themselves

parent's nest."

creditor without



very cruel oh oh " but seems "She so, because she is unchang-eable. There is another law, to which you and I must both yield ere long-."

"Yes,

my we

!

!

friend." g-o,

!

:

:

—a

— —

highwaj^ robber poor child very handsome all the same. Next, he has no mother if I was not so wicked I should try and supply her place you see I am reasonable. Tell me now how long it will be before you come to me for Laure 9 Oh, do not be

burglar



He began by he

confessing to

had not overcome the

much

in

a

them that refractor^'-

and that he had since learned there was another, a larger creditor, likely to press for pay-

ment or

for

sale

of

trouble

the

;

estate.

The

baroness was greatly agitated bj'' this the notary'- remained communication cool as a cucumber, and keenly ob:

and leave these tender ones to choose mates and protectors for themselves, out of a world of wolves in sheep's clothing ? Shall we refuse them, while we live, the lig-ht of our age and wisdom in this the act that is to color their whole lives ? " " You have always reason on 3"our side, you. Well send for the young- man. He is good he will forgive me if, in spite of mj^self, I should be sometimes rude to him he will understand that to m}'^ daughter he is a lover, but to me a ^'•Shall

:

at once, in this house ? St. Aubin, after the first compliments, retired ; and the notary, the baroness, triangle.

is

!

Jacintha, at the door.

dear friend," he cried, " the laws of Nature are inevitable. Sooner or later the young birds must leave the

" Nature

gone from me.

oh "

!

" Monsieur Perrin, the notary, is below and would speak to madame," said "

ffayly.

is

is

!



enjoy then 3'our triyou are come, you umph, for 3'ou have won " "All the better!" cried the doctor, !

—when

my

in full of curiosity, she cried out

He

will

the

fourth of November. I shall remember the fourth All I ask is, when of November ^go to. the^'^ are both gone, and the house is quite, quite desolate, then suffer me to

who came

they are taking- away

And to the

!

"

No matter—I

not expect it so soon. be reasonable to-day



thee."

my

LIES.

!

servant. said he, "has put this into heads ; otherwise I believe they never would have thought of it." He went on to say all this had caused him grave reflections. " It seems," said he, with cool candor, " a sad pity that the estate should pass from a family that has held it since the da^^s of Charlemagne." "Now, God forbid!" cried the baroness, lifting her eyes and her quivering hands to Heaven. Now the notary held the Republican

"Bonard,"

their

creed in all its branches. " Providence, madame, does not interfere in matters of business," said he.

" Nothing estate.

but money can save the Let us then look at things solid.

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

86

Has any means occurred to you of raising- do it two-thirds of your creditors shall money to pay off these encumbrances ? " be paid off at once. A single party on What means can there be? whom I can depend, one of m}^ clients, "No. The estate is mortgaged to its full who dares not quarrel with me, wull ad;

value: so they

"And

they

say."

all

put in the

notary, quickly.

" There is no hope." " Do not distress yourself, madame

am

here

:

I

" !

;

!

"Ah, my good ward you." " Madame, up

may Heaven

friend,

re-

to the present time

I

:

;

solid, I care little for these

things," said

he, secretl}^ bursting with gratified van-

"but the world is dazzled by them. I can show you something

;

However,

better." He took out a letter. "This is from the Minister of the Interior to a it amounts to a promise I client of mine :

and the present is on his Thus, madame, your humble a few short months will be

shall be the next prefect,

prefect

—I

am happy

death-bed. servant in

to saj^



I shall notary no longer, but prefect then sell my office of notary it is worth one hundred thousand francs and I flatter myself when I am a prefect you will not blush to own me." "Then, as now, monsieur," said the baroness, politely, " we shall recognize ;

— —

your merit.

"I

But—

understand",

what is have money."

look to

"

Ah

"

I

!

all

shall alienate

and

selle,

have no complaint to make of this same Heaven. By the by, permit me to show you that I am on the rise here, mademoi" selle, is a gimcrack the^"" have given me and he unbuttoned his overcoat, and showed them a piece of tricolored ribbon and a clasp. " As for me, I look to the

ity

vance the remaining third and so the estate will be safe. In another six months even that diminished debt shall be liquidated, and Beaurepaire chateau, park, estate, and grounds, down to the old oaktree, shall be as free as air and no power ;

say true!"

madame:

solid.

like

me, you

Thus then

it is

:

I

the better for you."

have a good deal

of

money.

But

it

dispersed in a great many small, though profitable investments. Now to call it in is

suddenly would entail some loss." "I do not doubt it." "Never mind, madame, if you and my young lady there have ever so little of that friendly feeling toward me of which I

have so much toward you, all va.y investments shall be called in. Six months will

them from

from

the

j^ou,

heirs

mademoiof your

body."

The baroness clasped

her hands in

ecstas3\

" But what are we to do for this, monsieur?" inquired Josephine, calmly, "for it seems to me that it can only be effected by great sacrifices on your part." "I thank you, mademoiselle, for your penetration in seeing that I must make sacrifices. I would never have told you, but you have seen it and I do not regret that you have seen it. Madame, mademoiselle, those sacrifices appear little to me will seem nothing will never be mentioned, or even alluded to, after this day, if you, on 3^our part, will lay me under a far heavier obligation if in here the contemner of things short" unsubstantial reopened his coat, and brought his ribbon to light again " if













madame, will accept me for YOUR SON-IN-LAW IF YOU, MADEMOISELLE, WILL TAKE ME FOR YOUR HUSBAND " yon,



!

The baroness and her daughter looked at one another in silence. " Is it a jest ? " inquired the former of

the latter.

"Can 3^ou think so, my mother? Answer Monsieur Perrin. Above all, my mother, remember he has just done us a kind office."

"I shall remember it. Monsieur, permit me to regret that, having lately won our gratitude and esteem, you have taken this waj'' of modifjdng those feelings. But after all," she added with gentle courtesy, "we may well put your good deeds against this this error in judgment. The balance is in your favor still.





'

WHITE provided you never return to this topic. Come, is it agreed ? " The baroness's manner was full of tact, and the latter sentences were said with

an open kindliness of manner. There was nothing- to prevent Perrin from dropping" the subject and remaining good friends. A gentleman or a lover would have so done. Monsieur Perrin was neither. He said in rather

me

fuse

a threatening tone "

madame

then,

**

:

You

re-

!

!

too much for the baroness's pride. She answered coldly but civilly *' I do not refuse you. I do not take an affront into consideration." " Be calm, my mother," said Josephine ; " no affront was intended." '^ Ah here is one that is more reason:

!

able," cried Perrin. " There are men," continued Josephine, without noticing him, '' who look to but

one thing, interest. politely in the in

the same

way

It

spirit,

what you have

was an

of business

my

offer ;

made

decline

mother; that

it is

to do."

Monsieur, you hear what mademoi" says ? " I am not deaf, madame." "She carries politeness a long way. After all, it is a good fault. Well, monsieur, I need not answer you since Mademoiselle de Beaurepaire has answered you but I detain you no longer." Strictly a weasel has no business with the temper of a tiger, but this one had, and the long vindictiveness of a Corsican. *' Ah my little lady, you turn me out of the house, do you ? " cried he, grinding his teeth. " Turn him out of the house what a phrase My daughter, where has this *'

selle

;

!

!

!

man

lived

'

?

" To the

devil with phrases. You turn out man, my little ladies, whom none ever yet insulted without repenting it, and repenting in vain. You are under obligations to me, and you think to turn me out You are at my mercy, and you think I will let you turn me to your door Say again to me, either with or without phrases, * Sortez ! ' and by all the devils

me

!

A

!

!

!

LIES.

87

than a month I will stand here, " and say to you, Sortez " Ah! mon Dieu ! mon Dieu !

in less

here, here, *'

'

" I will say, Begone from it

* !

.'

Beaurepaire "

is

'

mine

'

When he uttered these terrible words, each of which was a blow with a bludgeon to the baroness, the old lady, whose courage was not equal to her spirit, shrank

over the side of her armchair and cried piteousl}^ "He threatens me he threatI am frightened " and put up ens me !

:

!

!

The tone and the words were each singly



"

her trembling hands, so suggestive was the notary's eloquence of physical vio-

an unImagine that a sparrowhawk had seized a trembling pigeon, and that a ro3''al falcon swooped, and, with one lightning-like stroke of body and wing, buffeted him away, and there he was on his back, gaping and glaring and grasping at nothing with his claws. So swift and irresistible, but far more terrible and majestic, Josephine de Beaurepaire came from her chair with one gesture of her body between her mother and the notary, who was advancing on her with arms folded in a brutal, menacing way not the Josephine we have seen her, the calm, languid beauty, but the Demoiselle de Beaurepaire, her great heart on her blood up not her own only, but fire lence.

Then

his brutality received

expected check.







the blood of all the De Beaurepaires pale as ashes with great wrath, her purall

and her whole pantherbody ready either to spring or strike. "Slave! you dare to insult her, and

ple ej^es flaring, like

me

Arriere, miserable / * or I with your face " And her hand was up with the word, up, up, higher it seemed than ever a hand was lifted before. And if he had hesitated one mobefore soil

!

would have come down had he would have gone to her before it not under its weight the

ment, and if feet

!

my hand

I believe it

,

it



:



lightning is not heavj^ but under the soul that would have struck with it but there was no need ; the towering threat and the flaming eye and the swift rush buffeted the caitiff away he recoiled three steps and nearly fell down. She :

:

* "

Back

!

wretch

I

*

"

"

"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

88

followed

him as he went,

moment

as Hercules, beautiful and

terri-

He

dared

strong" in that

ble as Michael driving- Satan.

not, or rather he could not, stand before

her: he wreathed and cowered and reall down the room, while she marched upon him. Then the driven coiled

serpent hissed as it wriggled away. "For all this she too shall be turned out of Beaurepaire, not like me, but forever. I swear it, parole de Perrin." " She shall never be turned out. I swear it, foi de De Beaurepaire." " You too, daughter of Sa



Tais toi, et sors a LHnstant Lache " *'

mime—

!

The old lady moaning and trembling and all but fainting in her chair the :

young noble, like a destroying anget, hand in air, and great eye scorching and withering; and the caitiff wriggling out at the door, wincing with body and head, his knees knocking, his heart panting yet

raging, his teeth gnashing, his cheek livid, gleaming with the fire of hell.

his eye

CHAPTER Xn. *'

me

Mademoiselle, your mother has sent here to play with you."

" Monsieur " "It is true. She !

said, *Go and play with that other child.' " " Mesdames our mothers take liberties which we do not put up with from a stranger." "Mademoiselle, I felt like you at such a term being applied to me, but it is sweet to share anything with you, even an affront, a stigma." " So they sent you to amuse me ? asked the beauty, royally. " It appears so."

" Whether

I like

or not ? " at a word from that was under-

"No, mademoiselle, you I was to leave you

"I go."

He

retired.

"Monsieur Riviere,"

called the lady to a calm, friendly tone as if nothing had happened.

him,

in

He came

back. thoughtless you are: you are going away without telling me what you have been saying to my mother about me behind my back." "I never mentioned yon, mademoiselle!" "Oh! oh! all the better " Then this child told that child all he had said to the baroness, and her replies and this child blushed in telling it and looked timidl3' every now and then to see how that capricious child took it and that capricious child wore a lofty, contemplative air, as much as to say, " I am listening out of politeness to a dry abstract of certain matters pureh' speculative wherein I have no personal interCertain blushes that came and est." went gave a charming incongruity to the performance, and might have made an aged b^'stander laugh. When he came to tell Josephine's interference, and how her mother thought it was she he loved and how Josephine, to his great surprise, had favored the deand how, on this, the tide had lusion turned directl}'^ in his favor, our young actress being of an impetuous nature and off her guard a moment, burst out, " Ah,

"How

!

:

;

;

I recognize j^ou there,

Hold your tongue and begone this very moment, coward and slave !

!

my

good Joseph-

" but she had no sooner than she lowered her eyes and burned. Riviere was mystified. "But, mademoiselle," said can I be praj'^ explain to me " after all ? is she ? "Is she what?" " I mean does she ? " " Does she what ? " ine

!







said this

her cheek

"do

he,

mistaken



"You know what * "

:

stood." " Go away."

"No,

I

I

mean."

do not: how should I?

vanity of these children

!

Now,

if

The she



"

;

WHITE did, would she have confessed before you that she did ? " "Well, I am astonished at you. Mademoiselle Laure Jacinth a then is rig-ht you acknowledg"e that ever3'thing- your " sex sa3^s is a falsehood oh, fie "No! not everything-," replied Laure, with naivete unparalleled, " only certain thing's don't tease me," cried she, with sudden small violence; "of this be sure, that Josephine was a g-ood friend to you, not because she loves children, but because she is not one of us at all, but an angel and loves everybody even mon;



!

LIES.

" If you will come to where the great oak tree stands." " To the Pleasance, you mean ? " " Oh, the Pleasance, is it ? What lovely names everything has here Well, if you will come into the Pleasance, I will make you a drawing of that dear old !

tree I love so."

!



sieur."

" This

what

think," said Edouard, gravely. "The baroness fancies you a child ^3^ou are woman enoug-h to puzzle me, mademoiselle." is

I



" That

may

easily be."

"And Mademoiselle Josephine thoug-ht should not be allowed to come into the house at all, if, at that critical moment, another prejudice came in the way." I

"

What

prejudice

?

"





"No! I was confused. I mean too young- to be loved." " Oh, I am not too young- for that not a bit too young-." "And so the ang-el Josephine temporized, out of pity to me that is my solu:

and

—ah

!

Heaven

bless her

" !

" Forgive me if I say your solution very absurd one." "It is the true one." "Are 3^ou sure? "

is

a

it

is

no use

my

contradicting

"Not the least." " Then I shall not contradict j^ou." "Ah, well! mademoiselle angel, perhaps my turn will come," said the young man, his lips trembling. " Won't I cut myself in pieces for you at a word, that is alL" I

like

3'ou

better

when

so."

Mademoiselle Laure ? " " Monsieur Edouard ? " **

right have you to love it?

not yours it is ours. You are always loving something 3'ou have no :

business to." " I love things that one can't help loving is that a crime ? " " He can't help loving a tree, tender



nature " " No, I can't help loving a tree out of which you introduced yourself to me." " Insolent Well, draw it with two ladies flying out and a boy rooted with !

!

terror."

" There is no need. That scene than drawn, it is engraved, on memories forever "

j'ou

talk

is

more

all

our

!

!

not on mine

—ha

!

Oh how !

—and how terrified we should have been you had not. Listen once upon a time—don't be alarmed was after Noah—a frightened terrified

3^ou

were

!

ha

!

if

:

:

it

hare ran by a pond the frogs splashed into the water in terror. She said, ' Ah ha there are then those I frighten in my turn I am the thunderbolt of war.' Excuse my quoting La Fontaine I am not in * Charles the Twelfth of Sweden ' yet. I am but a child." " And I am glad of it, for when you grow up you will be too much for me, :

!

:

:

selle

you."

"

"And what it is

that

" Positive."

"Then



"Not on mine

" That you are too young- to love." " That is no prejudice it is a fact. I am, monsieur I am much too young-."

tion,

89

evident.

is

Come, then, mademoi-

the quizzer."

"Monsieur, shall I make you a confession? You will not be SbUgry. I could not support your displeasure." " I am afraid you could so I will not try 3^ou." :

" Then I have a strange inclination to walk up and down this terrace while 3'ou

draw that

tree in the Pleasance."

" Resist that inclination perhaps will fly from you." " No you fly from me and draw. will rejoin you in a few minutes." " Thank you Not so stupid I :

!

!

it

I

;

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

90 ''

Do you doubt my word,

sir? " asked

she, haug-htily.

" Heaven

mademoiselle only I it was a serious promise you are doing- me the lienor to make me. I go." He went, and placed himself on the west side of the oak and took out his sketch-book, and worked zealously and rapidly. He had done the outlines of the tree and was finishing' in detail a part of the huge trunk, when his eyes were suddenly dazzled in the middle of the rugged bark, deformed here and there with great wart-like bosses, and wrinkled, seamed, and plowed all over with age, burst a bit of variegated color bright as a poppy on a dungeon wall, it glowed and glittered out through a large hole in the brown bark it was Laure's face peeping. To our young lover's eye how divine it shone None of the half-tints of common flesh were there, but a thing all rose, lily, sapphire, and soul. His pencil dropped, his mouth opened, he was downright dazzled by the glowing, bewitching face, sparkling with fun in the gaunt tree. Tell me, ladies, did she know the value of that somber frame to her brightness ? Oh no she was only a child The moment she found herself detected, the gaunt old tree rang musical with a crystal laugh, and out came the archdryad *' I have been there all the time. How solemn you looked !— ha ha Now for the result of such profound stud3^" He showed her his work she altered her tone. *'0h! how clever," she cried, "and how rapid What a facility you have Monsieur is an artist," said she gravely; "I will be more respectful," and she dropped him a low courtesy. '^ Mind you promised it to me," she added, sharply. " *' You will accept it, then ? ** That I will it will be worth having I never reckoned on that hence my nonforbid,

!

did not see at first that

:

:

;

!



!

!

!

!

!

\

!

!

:



chalance.

Finish

it

directly," cried this

peremptory young person. '* First I must trouble you to stand out there near the tree." "What for?"

I

of

liness."

She did not answer, but made a sort of and went where she was bid, and stood there with her back to the pirouette, artist.

" But that will not do, mademoiselle you must turn round." " Oh, very well." And when she came round he saw her color was high. Flat;

tery is sweet. This child of nature was pleased, and ashamed that it should be seen that she was pleased and so he drew her; and kept looking off the paper at her, and had a right in his character of artist to look her full in the face, and he did so with long, lingering glances beginning



severe and business-like, and ending tender, that she, poor girl, hardly knew which way to look, not to be scorched up by his e3"e like a tender flower, or blandly absorbed like the pearly dew. Ah !

happy hour ah happy days and innocence, and first love I

!

of youth,

!

!

.

" Because a picture

want a contrast. The tree Age and gradual decaj' by its side, then, I must place a personification of Youth and growing loveis

is

" Here is my the matter "

Ah

sister.

!

something

!

Josephine came toward them, pale and panting. '* Oh, sny children," she cried, and could not speak a moment for agitation. They came round her in the greatest concern. '' great misfortune has fallen on us, and I am the cause."

A

"Oh, Heaven!" " We have an enemy now, a deadly enemy. Perrin the notary Laure — mon;

—he insulted us — he insulted my mother— I could not bear that — I insulted sieur

A^??^."

" You, Josephine ? " " Yes you may well wonder. How but our mother little we know ourselves was trembling in her chair, her noble, her beloved face all pale all pale and she put up her hands before her sacred !

!





head, for the ruffian was threatening her with his loud voice and brutal gestures."

—"

I

WHITE " Oh, my poor mother " " Sacr-r-re canaille I and I not there!" " Then in a moment, I know not how, was upon him, and I cried, Back,

LIES. " We

!



I

*

'"

wretch ''Well done." " With my hand over his head. Oh, if he had faced me a moment, I should have struck him with all my soul, and in the I was face. I should have killed hiui. stronger than lions, and as fierce. I was not mj^self. I knew no fear I who now !

;

am

all

My

fear again.

children,

it



was

but a single coward had it been a regiment of braves, I should have flung m^^for my mother. Madself upon them woman that I was " " You noble creature —you goddess only loved you, and honored you now I adore you." " Oh, Edouard, you do not see what my violence has done. Alas I who love my sister so have ruined her. I have ruined the mother I tried to protect. 1 have ruined the house of Beaurepaire. For that shrinking coward has the heart of a fiend. He told us he had never forgiven an affront and he holds our fate in his hands. You turn me out of the room,' he yelled (oh I turn cold now when I think of his words), ' I will turn you out of the room, and out of the house as well. You stand here and say to me, " Sortez .^" In a little while I will stand here here, and say to you, " Sortez ! " He will do it. It is written in my heart, so hot with rage a moment ago, so cold with terror now he will do it he will come armed with the law the iron law and sa^'' to " us poor debtors Sortez "And if he does," said Edouard, firmly, and cutting each word with his clinching teeth, ''this is what will happen. I will cut his liver out with my dog- whip before you all, and you will not go at all." " That is spoken like a man " cried



!





!



'

!



'





— —



.''

'

'

!

Laure, warmly.

"You

talk

like

a

child,"

said

Jo-

" Yet perhaps you might do something. Will you do something for sephine.

me?" " Did you do nothing for me to-day, that you put such a question ? "

91 will

"No,"

not speak of that,

my friend."

cried the boy, trembling with

emotion, "we will not talk of it; these are not things to talk of ; but we will And for lack of words he seized upon both her hands and kissed them violentl}'', and then seized her gown and kissed



that.

"

You know Bonard

lives

the farmer about a league from this."

"Yes "Run

!

—he

"

yes

!

thither across the meadows, and find out whether Perrin has been to him since leaving the chateau. He has only

you

a few minutes' start;

will

perhaps

"

arrive before he leaves

!

"Before he leaves! I shall be there before him. Do j^ou think a dun cow can carr3'^ a scoundrel toward villain}^ as fast as I can go to please an angel

?

"

" You will come back to Beaurepaire and tell me ? " "Yes yes " and he was gone. The sisters followed slowly to the gate, and watched the impetuous boy run across !

!

the park. " He does not Josephine.

"Oh,"

take the path," said

said Laure, "

what are paths to no prejudice in favor of beaten tracks. He is going the shortest way to Bonard, that we maj'be sure of.'* " How gallantly he runs, Laure how high he holds his head how easily he moves and yet how he clears the ground already at the edge of the park." "Yes, but, Josephine, the strong bramble hedge there is no gap there no stile. What will he do ? Ah " Edouard had solved the riddle of the hedge b^^ a familiar maneuver unknown to those ladies until that moment, he increased his pace and took a flying leap right at the hedge, but, turning in the air, came at it with his back instead of his face, and, by his weight and impetus, contrived to burst through Briareus in a moment, and was next seen a furlong behim

He has

?

;

;

;





!

;

yond it. The girls looked at one another. Josephine smiled sadly. Laure looked up hopefully.

" All our

lives

we have thought

that

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

92



hedge a barrier no mortal could pass he make much of it. Have courage

didn't then,

my sister."

Laure, go in and comfort our mother." " Yes, my sister alone ? Where are you going ? " ''



" To the oratory." " Ah you are right." " Oh, Laure, the blessing and the com!

God of the fatherstronger than wicked men. Dark days are coming, my sister." fort of believing the less is

The baroness was so shocked at this Laure repented bitterly her unguarded tongue. " Oh, mamma don't look so pray, that



!

don't look so Mamma dear, be angry again, do pray be very angry but don't look so at your Laure. I could not help !

;

growing up. I could not help being like you, mamma. So then they call that being pretty, and come teasing me. But I am not obliged to love him, mamma, do pray remember that. I don't care for him the least in the world, not as I do for you and Josephine and if he brings dissension here, I shall hate him ah yes you could easily make me hate him — poor boy *' I was wrong it is a weakness of :

!

!

!

:

CHAPTER

XIII.

Laure tried to comfort her mother; the consoling topic she chose was 3'oung Riviere. She described his zeal, his determination to baffle the enemy, how, she did not know, but she was sure he would somehow ; and, to crown all, his jumping through the hedge. The baroness listened like a wounded porcupine round whom a fly buzzes. The notary was her wound ; the statesman her worrying fly. When her patience was exhausted, she lashed out against him. Now,

capricious imps like Laure,

whom

their very nature seems to impel to tease

and even quarrel with a lover are balanced by another strong impulse viz., to defend him behind his back, ay, with more spirit than those who have more loving natures. Perhaps they feel they owe him this reparation. Perhaps to abuse him is to infringe their monopoly, and they can't and to

flout,

his

face,



stand that. Laure defended Edouard so warmly, that, between her mother's sagacity and her own vexation at his being sneered at by anybody but her, and also at her being called once or twice in the course of the argument by the hateful epithet *'a child," it transpired that she was the young lady Edouard came to Beaurepaire for.

parents never to see that their children are young women." " I am nineteen and a half, my mother, and he is only twenty-one. So, you see, it is very natural." " Yes it is very natural there, go and tell the doctor all that has happened this miserable day. For I am worn out quite worn out. Let me have some one of my own age to talk to. Ah how unhappy I am "



!



!

!

Never since our storj^ commenced did a sadder, gloomier party sit round the little table and its one candle in the corner of that vast saloon. Josephine filled with gloomy apprehenand accusing herself of the ruin of the family. The doctor, sharing her anxieties, and bitterlj'^ mortified at the defeat of reason and St. Aubin at having been deceived by this wolf in sheep's clothing. Laure sad, for now for the first time they were not all united in opinion, as well as in trouble, and she herself the cause. The baroness in a state of prostration, and looking years older than in the mornsions,

:

ing.

"You are worn out, madame," said the good doctor; ''let me persuade 3'ou to retire to rest a little earlier than usual." ''No, my friend, I want to sit and look at you all a little longer. Who knows how long we

shall be together

?

"

:

WHITE There was a heavy silence, " Tell Laure whispered to Josephine our mother she can dismiss him whenever she pleases it is all one to me." :

:

"No! no!" said Josephine, *'that is not what she is thinking of. She is right: I have ruined you all." The door opened. "Monsieur Riviere," cried Jacintha and a moment after the young man shone

LIES.

93

" Forgive me if I venture to contradict you, madame." are ruined and no power can save us." " Yes, madame, there is one who can." " Who can save me now ? " asked the



"We

baroness, with deep despondency.

"I " !

"You? child?"

him. He was with the farmer a good hour then he went home. I followed him but I did nothing you understand, because I had not precise orders from you but I went hence, and got my dog-whip here it is whenever you give the word, or hold up your little finger to that effect, it shall be applied, and with a will" crack, and the ex-school-boy smacked his whip, meaning to make a little crack, but it went off like a pistol-

" I if you will permit me." This frantic announcement took them so by surprise that they had not even the presence of mind to exclaim against its absurdity', but sat looking at one another. The statesman took advantage of their petrifaction, and began to do a little bit of pomposity. "Madame the baroness, and you, monsieur, who have honored me with j'^our esteem, and you. Mademoiselle de Beaurepaire, whom I adore, and you, Mademoiselle Laure whom I whom I hope to be permitted whom I listen all. You have this day done me the honor to admit me to an intimacy I have long sought in vain let me then this daj'- try to make you some small return, and to justify in some degree Monsieur St. Aubin, my kind advocate. Madame, it is your entire ignorance of business, and unfortunate neglect of your propert}', that make you fancj' j'^ourself ruined." The baroness laughed bitterly at the boy. Then her head drooped. " Let us come to facts. You are living now upon about one thousand two hundred francs a year the balance of j^our rents, after the interest of your loans is paid." Oh and they were astounded and ter-

shot.

rified

doorwa3\ "Is this an hour

in the

— ?"

began the bar-

oness.

"He

comes by

my request,"

said Jo-

sephine hastily. " That is a different thing." Edouard came down the saloon with a brisk step and a general animation, and joined the languid group like a sunbeam struggling into thick fog. He bowed all round. " Mademoiselle, he has been there. As I jumped over the last stile, that dun pony trotted into the yard ; I say, how he must have spurred him." Josephine, who had risen all excited to hear his report, sat down again with a gentle, desponding mien.

" I waited

came

in

ambush

to see

what

be-

of





;

;



:



"Ah " cried the baroness, and nearly jumped out of her seat. Edouard was abashed. "The young savage!" cried Laure, and smiled approvingh\ "It is no question of dog- whips," said !

St.

Aubin, with dignit3^

"

And the man is enough our enemy without our giving him an}' real cause to hate us," remonstrated Josephine. " We shall not be here long," muttered the baroness, gloomily.

!



— —

:



!



at his knowledge of their secret, and blushed in silence for their povert3^

" Your real balance, after paying your is that is, ought to be five thousand two hundred francs. Your farms are let a good fortj'^ per cent below their value A^our tenants are of two classes those who never had any leases, and those whose leases have long been run creditors,





:



The tenants are therefore in 3'our power, and whenever you can pluck up resolution to have your real income, say the word, and I will get it you." out.



"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

94

The baroness smiled

" Farm

faintly.

''Monsieur," said she, ''you are right, I understand little of business ; but this I know, that the farms are let too high, not too low. The3'--all say so." "Who says so, madame?" " They who should know best the tenants themselves. Two of their wives came here last week and complained of the hard times." "What! the smooth-faced cheats, the liars whose interest it is to chant that tune. Give me better evidence." "That man, the notary, he said so. And in that point at least I see not what



interest













" You d on't see what interest he has " cried Edouard. " On me coupe la parole,'^ * said the fine lady, dolefully, looking- round with an air of piteous surprise on them all. " Forgive me, madame zeal for you boiled over; but now is it possible you don't see what interest that canaille of a " pettifogger has ? " What phrases " " In humbugging you on that point " " " It is a whole vocabulary " Blame the things and the people, not me, madame, since I do but call both by their true names." !

:

!

I

!

!

!

" Which, if not so polite as to call them by other names, is more scientific," sug-

gested St. Aubin.

" Madame, pray see the thing as it is, and if you insist on elegant phrases, well, then Beaurepaire is a dymg kid that all the little ravens about here are feeding on, and all the larger vultures, or Perrins, are scheming to carry away to their own The estate of Beaurepaire is the nests. cream of the district. The first baron knew how to choose land perhaps he took the one bit of soil on which he found something growing by the mere force of nature, all being alike uncultivated in it is a rich clay that barbarous time dozen brooks. Ah if watered \ij half a you could farm it j^ourself, as my uncle does his, you might be wealth}^ in spite of :

;

:

!

its

encumbrances." *

He

takes the words out of

my mouth.

it

ourselves

"No, madame;

it

Is he

!

is

not

mad ? " I

who am

mad. Why, if you go to that, it requires no skill to deal with meadow land, especially such land as yours, in which the grass springs of itself. Fundit humo facilem victum justissima tellus, doctorThere, I will back Jacintha to farm it for you, without spoiling the dinner. She has more intelligence than meadow land asks. In that case your income would be twelve thousand francs a year. The very idea makes you ill. Well, I withdraw it and there go seven thousand francs per annum but the three thousand francs I must and will force upon you for the young ladies' sake; and justice's and common sense's do you consent ? but, ;

;





monsieur, the baroness is ill she does not answer me her lips are colorless Oh, what have I done ? I have killed her by my hrusquerie." "It is nothing, my child," said the " too much trouble baroness, faintl^^ too much grief " and she was sinking back in her chair, but Laure's arm was already supporting her, and Josephine holding salts to her. "It is fatigue," said the doctor. " The baroness should have retired to rest earlier, after so trying a day." "He is right, my children. At ray age ladies cannot defy their medical adviser with impunity. Your arm, my youngest,'and she retired slowly, leaning said she upon Laure. This little shade of preference was a comfort to Laure after the short-lived and Josephine it differences of the day would seem did not -think it quite accidental, for she resisted her desire to come on her mother's other side, and onlj^ went slowly before them with the light. On the young ladies' return they were beset with anxious inquiries by Edouard. St. Aubin interrupted them. " They will not tell you the truth," said he, " perhaps they do not even know it. It is partly fatigue, partly worry ; but these would not kill her so fast as they are doing if— if her food w^as more generous more more nutritious " and !

!

:



;

;

— — — —

the doctor groaned.

!

WHITE "Oh, doctor," cried Laure, "we give her the best we have." " I know you do, little angel, but you give her delicacies she wants meat j'ou



;



give her spiced and perfumed slops she wants the essence of soup ; and what are grapes and apples and pears and peaches ? water what are jellies ? sticky water, water and glue, but not fiber what are what are nearly all salads ? water vegetables? ninety-six parts in the hundred water; this has been lately proved by analysis in Paris, by a friend of mine. Nature is very cunning, she disguises





:

:



:

water with a hundred delicious flavors; and then we call it food. Farina and those two are food the rest are water, air, nothing. The baroness is at an age when people ought to eat little at a time, but often, and only sovereign flesh,

:

food."

" She shall have it from this day," cried Edouard. "Let us conspire."

"Oh, yes,"

cried

Laure, "let us con-

spire

" Let us be kinder to her than she will ever be to herself. You saw how prompt she was to oppose my plans for baffling Let us act without her her enemies? knowledge."

"But how?" " Let

me

health." "Oh, yes

see.

First let us think of her

that

be the real misWill that meet my friend's views? " " Provided she can be got to obey me," was Edouard's reply. "May I ask for another candle ? " The bell was rung. in all things, she will

tress.

"Another

candle, Jacintha."

Meantime, Edouard, too eager to wait for anything long, took out of his pocket a map, and spread it all over the table Jacintha came in, and, being tormented with curiosity, took a long time lighting the candle, with a face made stolid for :

the occasion.

"

Now

you

all

know what

this is a

map

of?" " said Laure, " it is not France but what country it is I don't know." " Oh, fie Jacintha knows, I'll be What map is this, Jacintha ? " bound. " It is Itah%" replied Jacintha firmlj^ and without any of that hesitation which in some minds accompanies entire ignorance of a subject. Edouard groaned. " Well, I did think she would have known Beaurepaire when she saw it." Jacintha gave an incredulous toss of her head. " How can it be Beaurepaire ? Beaurepaire is in Brittany, and this country is bigger than Brittany. Brittany is down-

"

No

!

;

!

you young

Edouard,"

cried

" Ah " cried Laure, " here is the chateau " " Saints preserve us, so it is, mademoi-

must begin must ask

thus.

selle,

to be

and two

first of all."

you,

Josephine, warmly. "Well, then, we of

me

95

stairs." !

"Ah! thank One

LIES.

ladies

!

allowed to manage the household matters. You can say you wish to prepare yourself for the day when you shall yourself be mistress of an establishment. Perhaps, Mademoiselle Laure, you would make the proposal? " " Me I shall never be mistress of an establishment," said Laure, dolefully and pettishly. She added, in quite a different key, " I do not mean to I would not for the world." "What a violent disclaimer," said Josephine; "it will be best for me to make the proposal. I will be apparent mistress of the house, but, as Laure rules !

:

!

I declare.

ladies

And

walking

here in

the park, but I don't

is

it,

see monsieur nevertheless he is as often there as you are, mesdemoiselles," said Jacintha, demurely. "What an unfortunate omission " " I am glad you think so it is easily supplied," and with his pencil he rapidly inserted a male figure walking with the :

!

:

ladies,

and

its

body pajang them a world

of obsequious attention.

Jacintha retired with a grin. The map was warmly admired. " Oh, I used always to get a prize for

them

at the Polj'-technic."

" And so beautifully colored are

all

these

names?"

:

but what

said Josephine,

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

96

" the Virgin's Coppice ? I never heard of that." " Oh oh " cried Edouard, " she never heard of the Virgin's Coppice. What is Why, it is a sort of marsh I shot it ? a brace of snipes in it the other day." " But you have not painted any trees on it to show it is a coppice." ''Trees? there is not a tree in it, and has not been this two or three hundred !

!

:

years."

"Then why do we still ?

"

call

a coppice

it

"

I don't

snipes in

it

know

—no

;

all I

know is,

small virtue."

there are



I never Laure. "The Deer Park heard of that." Edouard (lifting up his hands). "Thej^ don't know their own fields the Deer Park is a plowed field not far from Dard's house, which you may behold. Now give mej^our attention." The young man then showed them the homesteads of :

the several tenants, and pointed out the fields that belonged to each farm, and the very character of the soil of each



They gazed at him in half -stupefied wonder, and at the mass and precision of his knowledge on a subject where they were not only profoundly ignorant, but had not even deemed knowledge accesHe consible to ladies and gentlemen. cluded by assuring them that he had carefully surveyed and valued every field on the estate, and that the farms were let full forty per cent below their value. "Now, mesdemoiselles, your mother has a claim upon the estate for her jointure, but you are the true proprietors." " Are we ? "

"Oh, gracious Heavens! tbey did not even know who their estate belonged to. Well, give me an authority, on this paper, to act as your agent, or we shall never get our forty per cent. Neither j^ou nor your mother are any match for these leeches who have sheep-faced rustics been sucking your blood this fifty years crying hyenas that have been moaning and whining because they could not gnaw your bones as well." " My friend," said Josephine, "I would





;

!

" think if she had known what was " hanging over her all that time "What do you say, doctor?" asked !

Josephine. " I don't know, alternative.

As

my dear.

a hard

It is

a general rule I don't

like deception."

"

field.



do this with pleasure, but mamma would be so hurt, it is impossible." " Mademoiselle Josephine you saw how your mother received my proposals Consider, I am for her good and yours. strong enough to defeat your enemies, provided I have none but enemies to battle but if I am to fight the baroness, and her prejudices, as well as Perrin and the tenants, then failure is certain, and I wash my hands of it." " But consider, impetuous boy, we cannot defy our mother, whom we love so." " Defy her ? no But you need not go and tell her everything you do." " Certainly not. You know, doctor, we kept from her Bonard's threat till the danger seemed passed." "And we did well," cried Laure;

do not propose deception," said the young man, blushing; " only a wise reticence and without this reticence, this reserve, even my plan for improving her I

;

diet

must

fail."

" In that case I take the sin of reticence on me. I claim the post of honor " cried Laure, with great agitation and glistening eyes. "I consent!" exclaimed Josephine; "this child, so young, so pure, cannot !

be wrong." " All I know

the doctor, " that the more roast meat she has, and the less worr3% the longer my poor friend will is," said

live."

" Oh, give me the paper, Edouard, we will both authorize you, and thank you for letting us." " Yes yes and we will do whatever !

!

he advises us," cried Laure; you shall— I'll see about it."

"that

is,

" And, oh, doctor," said Josephine, a comfort it is to have some one about us who has energy and decision and, above all, takes the com-

"what

mand " !

WHITE The next day Edouard came kitchen and adopted Jacintha

into the

into the consulted her how to smug-g-le nutriment into the baroness, and bar the tenants from all access to her for a

conspiracy

He

while.

:

wh3\

told her

" Canaille

of tenants/' she cried,

" this

then has been j^our game all these j^ears good wait till the next of you comes here pulling a long face, crocodiles I'll " m3' mind :



:

tell

you

!

** No no anything but that they would say it is Jacintha who keeps us from the baroness, and they would write !

!

:

a dozen artifices to gain

to her or try

her ear."

" You are right, my son I was stupid ; no, it shall be diamond cut diamond. I'll meet them with a face as smooth as their own, and say to them what shall " I sa}^ to the canaille ? :



*'

Say the baroness

in

sees no one on business

;

her failing state say also that she

has made over the control of the property'to her daughters and their agent add that ahem she is d^dng " '' Yes that is the best of all to say ; but stay, no it is not lucky. Perhaps in that case she will die, and I shall have killed—" "Stuff! people don't die to make other people's words good, that would be too stupid cut me forty bunches of grapes." Jacintha looked rueful. ''My dear, it is not for me to deny you." " I don't ask you to deny me." " '' Well, but fort^^ bunches *' Order from the mistress!" said the young man, pompously drawing out a

LIES.

— —

!

!

:

!

paper. It

ran thus

^'Jacintha,

" Why, Dard

a sight of you is good would have thought you could have got so far as this " " I am going farther than this. I am going down to the town to sell your grapes, and such like belly vengeance, and bring back grub aha " *' Oh, that is the game, is it, my lads ? '*

do

"Well, to be

At

much

least tell

whatever

Monsieur

sure.

time,

I say,

you have

my young monsieur.

me what you want

forty

grapes for " Before he could answer came a clatter, and a figure hopped in with a crutch.

bunches

!

Who

!



!

cried Jacintha.

" That, and no other," replied Dard. " If the baroness comes to hear of it, won't 3^ou catch it, that is all " But she never will hear of it, unless you tell her." "Oh, I shan't tell her. I durstn't. She would faint away. Here is a downcome. Selling our fruit. Ah well-a-day. What is Beaurepaire coming to ? " "Will you go and cut them?" cried Riviere, stamping with impatience. "Well, I am going," snapped Ja!

!

cintha.

Dard had got a

little

cart outside,

and

grandmother's jackass. " Citizen, if you will bring the hampers

his

out of my cart into the garden, I will help her cut the fruit it is all I am fit for at the present. I am no longer a man. Behold me a robin-redbreast, hopping a-bout " may as well be killed for a sheep as a lamb," said Jacintha, dolefully. " I have pulled a few dozen peaches. It ;

!

We

is

a highway robbery

;

they would have

rotted on the tree. Oh, Dard you won't ever let the folks know where they come !

from

?

"

"No, no he has got his lessons from me." " That is a different thing what would tho}^ say if they knew ? Why, that we are at our last gasp Selling our very fruit off our walls;" and the corner of her apron was lifted to her eye. "You great baby," cried Edouard; "don't 3^ou see this is the beginning of common sense, and proper economy, and !

:

!

Riviere bids y ou ! ''Josephine de Beaurepaire."

not lost

97

for sore eyes.

:



"

"

:

of

!

(G)

-4

will

end

in riches

?

"

Dard shrugged his shoulders. " Reason is too good a thing " let her snivel

to waste

:

!

"Now, Dard," cried Jacintha, cheer"what I want most is some lard,

fully,

Rkadk— Vol.

VI.



"

!

::

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

98

some butter, some meal, a piece of veal, a small joint of mutton, and a bit of beef for soup ; but a little chocolate would not be amiss, our potatoes are very short, and you can bring- up some white beans, if you see any g-ood ones." "Nothing- more than that wanted?"

" Yes. Was I mad ? Coffee is wanted most dismally." *'Buy it if 3'ou dare !" cried Riviere. "No, Dard, that is my affair, and mine alone." Presently there

was a

fresh anxiety.

by him, the folk would know out of what g-arden came his merchandise. "All is provided for," said Edouard. "Dard, embellish thyself." Dard drew out of his pocket a beard recog-nized, and,

and put it on. " Is he Dard now ? "

"My "

Is

faith,

he even

" Not too Beaurepaire

" There

you at

is

my

my card the leases await house 3'ou must come and :

:

"

sign in three daj^s

!

alive since

if I should happen not to come nor sign either, my little monsieur ? " " In that case a writ of ejectment will be served on you before sunset of the third day. Adieu " !

"All the better for me," sang out one as Edouard retired. The doctor was much discouraged. "This universal consent surely goes to prove



"That they have a common

interest in

deceiving."

" You are very ^''oung to think so ill men." "I have been months in a government office. Ah monsieur, I have seen men of

no!" human ? " much so, ha

is

clear.

" And

inquired Dard.

Dard would be

underneath, at the joll}'- audacity of talking of raising the Beaurepaire rents with one and all Riviere was short and

!



ha well, you came into !

!

my gaillard! " "Now 3'ou know," said Dard, "if I am to do this little job to-day, I must

it,

start."

" Who keeps 3'ou ? " was the reply. Thus these two loved. Edouard had no sooner embellished, primed, and started Dard, by fencingwith a pointed stick at his jackass, which like a ship was a g-ood traveler but a C03'' starter, than he went round to all the tenants with St. Aubin. He showed them his authority, and offered them

too near

I left the Polytechnic with about honesty and sincerity among men -puff they are gone." Are they ? then accursed be the hour you ever saw a government office." "No, no but for my experience under government I should not be so sharp, and if I was not sharp I could not serve our :

illusions

'•'

:

sacred cause." " Still at your age to have lost fidence in

men and women

"I beg your pardon," anthropist,

eagerly,

con-

all

" !

cried the mis-

" not

in

women

leases

they have none of the vices of men no I see in selfishness, no heartlessness. them some little tendency to fib I mean but, dear me, in the uneducated ones

man.

men

It came out that most of them had been about to propose a reduction, but had forborne out of g-ood feeling- toward the baroness. And that same feelingwould perhaps g-ive them the courag-e to g-o on under the burden a year or two longer, but as for advancing- the rent a sou, never Others could not begot to take a grave view of so merry a proposal. They were all good-humor and jokes, with satire

with them." The doctor smiled. For the last thirty or forty" j^ears he had no longer been able to see this prodigious difference between

at forty per cent advance on They refused, to a the present rent.

!

;



!

their fibs are so innocent.

Women

!

!

we

are not worthy to share the earth

the sexes.

"Andean all these honest male faces be deceiving us ? " asked he. "What? because they are round! I too used to picture to myself a sharper with a sharp face eyes close together foxy but I soon found your true Tartuffe



:

— WHITE is

the

round-visaged

square-faced

or

candor he There is a razor keen and remorseless. are no better actors in the Theatre Francais than these frank peasants. You will see. Good-by I must run to fellow.

He seems a lump

of

;

;

town for drafts of leases. Mocha coffee, and writs of ejectment." There were in the little town in question two notaries, Perrin and Picard, on good the

terms with each other outwardly. Though young and impetuous, and subject to gusts of vanity,

Edouard was not an enemy of

so shallow as to despise

he knew nothing but that he was No. He said to himself ''We lawyer. a have a notary against us. I must play He went to Picard, and a notary." began by requesting him to draw up seven agreements for leases, and to have ready three or four writs of ejectment. Having thus propitiated the notary by doing actual business with him, he began cautiously to hint at the other notary's

whom

:

enmity to Beaurepaire. *'You surprise me," said Picard. ''I mistaken. really think you must be Monsieur Perrin owes all to that famih'. It was the baron who launched him. How often have I seen him, when a boy, hold the baron's horse, and be rewarded by a silver coin. Oh no, Monsieur Perrin is a

man

that bears a fair character

;

I can-

not believe this of him." This defense of his competitor looked so like master asp in his basket of figs, that Edouard hesitated no longer, but gave him the general features of the case, and went by rapid gradations into a towering passion.

Picard proposed to him to be cool. "1 cannot," said he, ''enter into your feud with Perrin, for the best of all reasons I do business with him." Edouard looked blank. " He is also a respectable man." Edouard looked blanker. " But, on the other hand, yon are now ray client, monsieur, and he is not vny You understand ? " client. " Perfectly," said Edouard. " You are an honest man," he cried, not stopping to pick his epithets, and seized the notary's :

LIES.

99

hand and shook it it let itself be shaken, and was in that and other respects like Its owner invited him to tell cold jell3^ :

the whole story.

"Never have any

reserves with jouv "that is the

notary," said he, severely;

and then they grand folly of clients come and blame us if we make a mistake; :

they forget that

they

it is

who

mislead

us."

On

this

dwelt

on

clients,

theme he rose

to tepid.

He

abominable practice of Edouard found out that

this

till

lawj'ers are the worst-used people living.

But who is not that ? They put their heads together, and Edouard found what an advantage his new friend's coolness and command of temper gave him, and he vowed to ally

own energy

to the notary's cold blood. he Avas gone, Picard went into his clerk's room and gave him an order to draw up agreements for leases, leaving blanks for the names then he added " What do 3^ou think ? The rascal is scheming to get hold of Beaurepaire now."

his

When

:

"Is it possible? But him," said the clerk. "' But I'll put a spoke

just like

it

is

in

his wheel,"

said Picard.

Josephine was now household queen at Laure, viceroy over her. Beaurepaire was born to command, lady 3'oung This and Nature prevailed over seniority. Therein Nature was rewarded by the approbation, the warm approbation of ;

Monsieur Edouard Riviere. That young statesman elected himself prime minister to the lady-lieutenant and so great was his deference to her judgment, even on points where she was unfathomably ignorant, that he was forever seeking grave conferences with her. The leading maxim with them all was that the baroness was on no account to be worried or alarmed, nor her prejudices shocked where these stood between her own comfort and her friends' plans for that comfort, the governing powers made a little detour and evaded collisions with them. For instance, the baroness would never have consented to sell a Beaurepaire ;

:



!

!

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

100

grape. She would have starved sooner, or lived on the g-rapes ; if diarrhoeaing- can be called living-. So when she demanded of Queen Josephine how there came such an influx of beef, mutton and veal into the chateau. Lieutenant Laure explained that Edouard had beg-g-ed Josephine to give him some fruit that was rotting- on the walls, and she had consented. " It seems, mamma, that these g-overn-

ment

officers interchang-e civilities

with

the tradespeople. So he made presents of fruit to those he deals with, and they sent him in return he he specimens of their several arts. And he never dines at home now, but always here. So he sent them over, and do you know I think it is as well he did, for that boy eats like a wolf, doesn't he, Josephine ? " ''Yes, love," said Josephine. "What did you sa3% dear ? I was full of my



thoug-hts,

my

!

!



foreboding-s."

Then what rig-ht had you to say 'yes'?" " Because it was you who appealed to *'

my

me,

"No, that

But deceive her rather than thwart or vex her." This was the leading

maxim

of the

new

queen-craft, and all played their part to perfection none better than Jacintha,



who, besides a ready invention and an oily tongue, possessed in an eminent degree the vultus clausus of the Latins volto Sciolto of their descendants in English, :

a close face. And though they entered on this game with hesitation, yet they soon warmed in it. The new guile was charming. To defraud a beloved one of discomfort to cheat her into a good opinion of all she wished to think well of to throw a veil, a silver tissue of innoto cent fibs, between her and trouble smuggle sovereign food into her mouth and more sovereign hope into her heart. Pious frauds and you know manj'' a holy man has justified these in writings dedicated to the Church, and practiced them for the love of God and the good of man. The baroness's health, strength and







!

spirits

improved

visibly.

sister."

no, no

silliest of

!

your nature to say

it is

words

—that

The baroness took no

is

whj^"

notice of this by-

talk.

"

I should not like him not to have enoug-h," said she, with some hesitation.

CHAPTER

In short Doctors Laure and Josephine so gilded the meat pills that the baroness

swallowed them, and was none the worse for them, actually Another day dead chickens flooded the larder. '•'

Oh,

mamma, come and

see

what the

"

tenants have sent us

!

" The g-ood souls and these are the people whose rents he talked of raising ? " !

"Who

minds what he says,

—a young madman."

mamma?

Another fine day it rained eggs. These too were fathered upon the tenants. Hope then to escape false accusations In these and many other ways they beguiled the old lady for her good. The baroness was not to see or hear anything but what she would like to see and hear. *' Do not deceive her unnecessarily. !

XIV.

On the third day a tenant called on Rivhemmed and hawed, and prepared to

iere,

draw

distant, but converging lines of circumvallation round the subject of Rent. Riviere cut the process short. " I am a public man, and have no time to waste in verbiage. On that table is a seven years' lease, with blanks you can sign it at forty per cent increased rent, or, by paying a bonus of one thousand francs, at thirty per cent." The man attempted to remonstrate. Riviere cut him dead short this time. The farmer then lowered his voice. " I have got a thousand francs in my pocket," said he. " Oh, you prefer the thirty per cent, and the bonus. Very well." " That is not what I mean. You and I ;

— WHITE might do better than

that.

We will

say-

you shall clap on ten per cent to show your zeal to the landlord, and this," lowering his voice, " will be for 3'ou and no questions nothing- about a bonus

;

asked.'"'

Riviere's first impulse was to hit him; the next was to laugh at him, which he accordingly did. " My man," said he, " j^ou must be very much in love with dishonesty. Now listen if I report that little proposal of yours at Beaurepaire, you will never get a lease upon any terms." " But 3^ou won't 3'ou won't " :

!

!

''Won't

I

?

if

you don't come to book

in five minutes I will

" !

" Give me ten, and I will see about it." " Humph ? I don't see what you want with ten minutes but take them." The farmer retired, and very soon after voices were heard and heavy feet, and in



LIES. "

101

You have got

the

writs

in

your

pocket."

" Seven

of

them, monsieur."

The farmers looked at one another. " The moment we have settled these leases, run up to the chateau, and, if you catch any farmers prowling about, serve them he! he! Now, messieurs." A rustling of parchments a crushing of pens to death on the table to see what they would stand on paper a putting





— —

out of tongues to write well a writing ill a looking at the work after it was done a wrenching out of bags of silver from the breeches-pocket like molars from the jaws a sighing a making of bows a clattering down the stair a dying away







— — voices — and nothing was

of feet and left but the four money-bags dispersed at intervals over the floor, and the statesman dancing a Saraband among them.

came four fanners. No. had been secreta deputation. The little lot had been all under the window, waiting till the agent should have taken the bribe and made them all right with Beaurepaire. But when No. 1 came down with his hair standing on end, to tell them that he had fallen in with a monster, a being unknown, fabulous, incredible, an agent that would not swindle his master, they succumbed as the bravest spirits must, even Macbeth, before the supernatural. The}-- came upstairs, and sorrowfully knuckled down only No. 1 put in a hope that they were not to be treated worse than those who had not come to him Riviere grinned.

1

13^

;

at

"Certainly not."

in the isle of fogs.

Such relaxations are brief with busy men. In another five minutes he was off

He went the shortest across the park, and, as he drew near the little gate, lo the Pleasance to the chateau.

way

!

:

;

;

clerk, brisk

and

He was

soon among Besides the doctor and the two 3'oung ladies there were three fanners and two farmers' wives. Failing in their attempts to see the baroness, and believing Jacintha's story that she never came downstairs, but employed herself on the second floor in pious offices and in departing this life, they had been sore puzzled what to do ; but, catching a sight of the 3^oung ladies going out for a walk, the}'' had boldly rushed into the Pleasance and intercepted them, and told them the tale of their wrongs so glibl}'' and with such full of people.

them.

''Because two or three are gone to the chateau." " They shall gain nothing bj' that." " But we said why plague the baroness she is old. She is at death's door. Lastly she has got an honest agent let us go to him." N. B.— They had all been at the chateau but Jacintha had fooled the lot. Riviere opened a door and beckoned.

Out popped M. Picard's

WiLDlSH conduct. But sixty years ago when a man was a bo\^ he was young. And, besides, the gaillard was not born

was

all.

smiling.

CHAPTER XV.

— WORKS OF CHARLES READK

103

heartiness and uniformity of opinion, and

General exclamation of the doctor and

in tones so

mellow and convincing-, that both the ladies and the doctor inclined to

ladies.

their view.

others.

"We

will talk

Josephine,

said

he

to Monsieur Riviere,"

kindly

'' :

ah

here

!

Yes, here I am.

thought I should Well, have find you here, good people. you piped your tune ? are you overburdened with rent already ? Is your part of the estate cold and sour, and does it lie

I

low, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., eh

" Yes,"

cried

Laure,

?

"

" they have.

La!" " And

it is too true, monsieur." Chorus. " Too true." " Jacques Pirot," cried Edouard, sternly, " last market-day you broke a bottle of wine I use your own phrase with the man who bought j'-our calves " " Well, monsieur, was that a sin ? "





"

When

spilled

Looks

of surprise

you had broken that, and the wine into your gullet, you

broke another." " And that is what brings you home from market the face red and the tongue stuttering,"

cackled Pirot 's wife, there

present.

" Silence

!

" cried Edouard.

"

When

"

He

calls that

ing,

;

"Nor "Nor

I." I."

Chorus

"We



!

!

eagerly.

"Unjust

to thyself!

it

was thy

half-

of

women away

will sign

Edouard shouted

our lives sooner."

:

" Jacintha Jacinth a " Jacintha appeared with suspicious celerity, the distance from the kitchen to the Pleasance considered. " Fetch me a good pen and some ink." " But they say they will not sign," said Laure. " Thej^ will sign, mademoiselle. Monsieur Chose, approach serve the eject!



!



forward.

!

just paid

dred francs instead of a thousand. Now I will make a bargain with 3'^ou. Sign similar leases here in three minutes, and I will let 3^ou off for one thousand francs each hesitate, and I will have two thousand francs." " I will not sign at all, for one."

had laughed in his face." " Do not believe it, mademoiselle;

is

a favor."

me one thousand You, b^^ your own showcan pay me two thousand five hun-

stood

it



francs apiece.

the wine is in, the truth comes out, even You bragged that Grapiof a farmer. net had offered you fifteen hundred francs to change farms with him, and that you

not true." " Liar You too were I heard you. there, Rennacon, drunk and truthful two events that happen to you once a week thanks to Bacchus, not to Rennacon. You boasted that Braconnier had offered to change with you and give you two thousand francs." " cried Rennacon, " I lied I lied

and dismay from the

" For which favor

"They have

is." '*

"

:

ments."

The

clerk,

who had

just arrived, but

drew out three slips of and made three steps paper, stamped

The

aloof,

effect

was

like

a pistol presented

at each head. The whole party set up their throats " Wait a moment, for Heaven's sake Mademoiselle, it is for j^ou to speak. :

!

This

is

to usurp

your place.

Do

not let

them persecute honest men, who have paid their rent faithfully, they and their forbears, to you and j^ours in quiet times and troubled times, in good harvests and

bad harvests." "Messieurs," rephed Josephine, " M.

hour for speaking the truth." cast

Riviere, m}^ good friend, has deigned to

your eyes on these parcliments. These Grapinet and Pepin and are leases. Braconnier have just signed their rent is advanced thirt}- per cent."

act as our agent. It would be little delicate on my part were I, after the trouble he has taken, to interfere with his pro-

"Now,

mademoiselle, deign

;

to

ceedings.

Settle

then this

affair

with

"

:

WHITE him, who appears to understand your sentiments, whereas my sister and I we do not understand you." And she withdrew quietly a little way, like an angel gently evading" moral pitch. " Are 3^ou satisfied ? is every door shut ? In one word, will you Here is Jacintha " sign or will you not sign ? Jacintha, with characteristic promptitude, took Riviere's part, without knowing what it was about. " Oh, they will sign it fast enough," Come to the scratch, my she cried. masters " cried she, cheerfully, and held out a pen. !

'•'

!

*'

Hon Dieu ! mon Dieu ! mon Dieu !

but where are

we

to find a

thousand

francs?" cried one. **

Mon Dieu ! mon Dieu ! mon Dieu !

your left-hand breeches-pocket," said

in

Riviere, laughing.

" I see it bulge," screamed Jacintha. Three hands went by a foolish impulse three

to

swelling.

breeches-pockets, to hide the It was too late.

" Allans

" cried Jacintha, ry trumpet, ''come forth, pieces

"

like

!

five

a merfranc

-

!

It is

a sorcerer then

women. "No, madame,"

!

" cried one of

the

my

principals."

" Decidedly he is a sorcerer My good monsieur, say no more. We sign." "They sign," said the doctor, "it is incredible." And he joined the ladies, !

who were walking

slowl}'

up and down

the Pleasance, abstaining upon a principle of delicacy from interfering with Edouard, but, as may well be supposed, keenly though furtively attentive.

When the

farmers had signed. Riviere

signed the duplicates. " Are we not to have your name to it, mademoiselle ? " asked a farmer. Josephine moved toward Riviere, thinking he might require her. "No ' he cried haughtily. "7 have -

!

103

got her name on this authority, but my name is good enough for you. She shall not sign, and you shall not speak to her. You may look at her that is no small :

Good

you have looked at her. Now decamp, rogues and jades." They went off muttering. The}'' felt deeplj' wronged. Each a shade more so than the other. Rennacon vented the thing.

!

general sentiment of ill usage thus " Cursed be interlopers Another j^ear or two and I should have put aside enough to buy my farm it will take me ten j'ears at this rate." !

:

"Come, the bags boards.

:

Jacintha, hold your apron for them in one of your cup-

lock

Away

with you."

Then his friends all came round Edouard, and shook his hand warmly, and thanked him with glistening eyes again and again and again. Laure and all. Now this young gentleman was so formed that, if one did not see his merit, he swelled with bumptiousness like a peacock, but if one praised him too much, straightway^ he compared himself with his heau ideal, his model, say the Chevalier Bayard, and turned modest and shame-faced so now he hung his head and stammered as they showered praise and admiration on him. And this was pleasing and pretty by contrast with his late tremendous arrogance and rudeness. :

said Riviere, politely,

*Mt is onl}'- an observer. You left your dens armed at all points. The first game was to come here and throw dust in mademoiselle's eyes. Had you failed there, the thousand francs was to bribe me to swindle

LIES.

It struck

them

"No more

all.

words,"

said

" they make him blush. Run, Laure, and bring

Josephine,

crown him. me some bay I

leaves."

" No, mesdemoiselles no there is more work to be done before I dare triumph. I must take j^our money down to the town, and pay that creditor ofl". Then !

!

my

heart will be at ease about you all, and then I confess I should like to wear a crown for half an hour." "Come back to supper, Edouard, and wear it." "Oh, thank you." " There he goes without being measured, the giddy child. Take off your hat,



monsieur."

Then there was a mj'sterious gliding

of

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

104

palms and delicate fingers about his

soft

brow and head, and the

latter

And

nounced to be measured.

was an-

oh, reader,

what botheration mig-ht be saved if every man was measured before a crown was He is for a hat. clapped on him !

"They can measure

the outside," said "their saucily; art goes so the doctor, far."

Edouard ran "

He

off.

quits us everj'- minute," said

Laure

to Josephine ; " that is why I detest him." " You don't detest him," objected the doctor, as gravel^^ as

if

he was announc-

ing a fact in ph\'sics. "That is wh3^ I like him, then," said saucebox. Edouard ran to Jacintha for two out of the three money-bags, took them home, converted the six thousand francs into

bank paper

(not assignats),

and pelted

down

women, whose

all."

"So it "I smile



" Good

and what an aroma this has and a flavor ? if this is from Arabia, what I have been drinking for months must have been a nearer neighbor, 1 think."

:

better go to him at once on youv return I have something to say to you." Edouard ran to the Mairie in front of it he found some forty or fifty idlers collected and gaping at a placard on the :

;

!

;

" Let me taste, mamma," said Laure. She tasted and was thunderstruck. She took occasion to draw Josephine into the dark part of the room. " Some one has been drugging my coffee it tastes of Mocha was it you, love ? traitress, I mean ? tell me, dear ? " "No. Guess." " That is enough, the imp I'll."

— —

— —

!

"I would,"

wall.

Edouard 's eyes, followed theirs carelessly, and saw a sight that turned him cold and took the pith out of his body.

cried Laure.

Josephine, and Josephine smiles at me, and neither of us have the least idea why have we, my elder ? and here is your coffee, dear, dear mamma." at

discharging the creditor. To this question, asked with eagerness and agitation, the notary answered with perfect cool-

"The thing to do now is to take the money to the mayor. Perhaps you had

mamma,"

does,

too, to-day

ness

had so few pleasures,

:

to the down. He went at once to his notary to ask him what forms were to be complied with in

lives

denied themselves the luxury of telling their mother the family triumph. Unselfish and innocent, they kept so sacred a pleasure for their friend. But, though their words were guarded, their bird-like notes and bright glances were free, and chirped and beamed in tune with their hearts. Their very breath was perfumed gayety and hope. And the baroness felt herself breathing a lighter, brighter, and more musical air. She said " Are better days in store, my children ? For to-daj-, I know not how or why, the cloud seems less heavy on us

!

Josephine.

replied

"He

Mademoiselle Laure deceives her mother let us deceive her.^ I told him I would betray him, and I have kept said to me,

'

:

A great staring notice, the paste behind my word." which was scarce dry, glared him

in the

face.

The lands of BeaureCHATEAU AND OTHER the PAIRE, WITH AND TENEMESSUAGES BUILDINGS THE

"For

" Yes, after cheating me ress

sale.

MENTS. " At

the REQUISITION OP Jacques BONARD, CREDITOR. By ORDER OF THE Arm and. Mayor." Directory,

!

!

kiss

me, quick

!

double trait" quick :

!

!

Supper was ready. No Edouard. His crown of bay leaves was on the They were betable: but no Edouard. ginning to fear he would not come at all, when he arrived in haste, and sank into a chair, fatigued partly by a long day's work, partly b}'" the emotions he had passed through.

This was the brightest afternoon Beaurepaire had seen for years. These j'oung

Through content.

all this

peeped an air of

self-

"

:

WHITE "

madame— it

Forg-ive me,

has been a

day." ** Repose yourself, monsieur," said the She was not baroness, ceremoniously. makinghimself so at best pleased at his '' you somelet us offer home. Or rather x'ou." restore thing to " Nothing-, madame, but a tumbler of thank you, wine with a little water madame. Mesdames, great events have occurred since I left you." "Oh, tell! tell!" Eyes bright as sword-blades in the sun with interest and curiosity were fastened on him, and their lovely proprietors held their breath to hear him. He glanced round with secret satisfaclong'



tion, paused, relished their curiosity,

and

then began his story.

He told them how he rode down to the town, and went to his notary here he explained that, being at war with a notary, he had been compelled in common and his prudence to enlist a notar3'notary had sent him to the Mairie, and there he had seen a placard offering the chateau and lands of Benurepaire for sale. '' Oh, Heaven Oh, Edouard " " Be calm there, I meant to keep you a moment or two in suspense, but I have not the heart. I went into the Mairie 1 saw the mayor: it was Bonard's doing, set on, of course, by Perrin I paid your six thousand francs into the mayor's hands for Bonard. Here, ladies, is the mayor's receipt from that moment Beaurepaire was yours again, and that accursed placard mine. I tore it down before all the crowd they cheered me." " Heaven bless them " cried the doc:

:

!

!



:

:

;

;

!

tor.

!

LIES. "

It

105

was the

act of a

young man."

"You are right, monsieur

am

I

:

almost

sorry I did it." " Monsieur Edouard," cried the baroness, rising, the tears in her eyes, "I scarcely understand all you are doing, and have done for us but this I comprehend, that 3'ou are a worthj'" young man j and that I have not till now had the discernment to see all your value " " Oh, madame, do not speak to me so it makes me ashamed let me continue ray story." " Yes but first tell me, this six thousand francs Oh, how m3^ heart beats Oh, my children, how near ruin we have been Oh dear Oh dear " "' Dear mamma, do not tremble it is all our own, thanks to our guardian angel," said Josephine. "Edouard, I think our mother wishes to learn how we :

!

:

:

!





!

!

:

came to have so much money." " What, have you not told her ? " "No Laure said you should have that pleasure it was j'our right." !

:

"

Ah

!

thank you. Mademoiselle Laure," young man, very warmly.

the

cried

"Madame, the tenants paid j'-ou seven thousand francs to-day for leases at a rent raised thirty per cent from this day." "Lowered, my child, you mean." "No, thank you, raised." " Is it possible ? the good creatures " "Eh? ah! humph! yes!" "But is it really true ? Can this be " true ?



!

!

" Jacintha holds a thousand francs at 3'our disposal, madame, and this receipt is 3^our voucher for the other six thousand and the leases signed are in the ;

" Dard was there in his donkey cart he put his cap on his crutch, and waved *Long live the it in the air, and cried Baroness and the Demoiselles de Beaurewell, paire ; and they all joined aha as I made my way through the crowd, who should I run against but Perrin " :



'

!

— !

"The wretch."

house."

"And these are the people you had hard thoughts of, monsieur." " " See how unjust I was " Did they volunteer all this ? " "Not exactly. It was proposed to them, and within three days " They fell into it ? " !

"They

into the animal's face."

"Humph!"

" Oh, you good boy " !

!



" The pieces of the placard were in my hand I hurled them with all my ^orce :

!

fell

into it."

" May Heaven reward them " !

"

As they

deserve."

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

lOG

"Amen amen !

"

the

!

" Such actions do the heart g-ood as well as the house. I cannot but be affected by the sympathj^ of these humble people, who have known how to show their .Grood feeling', and, may I venture to their gratitude."

saj^, ^'

Call

it

by any

madame; they "Their

name you

fine

please,

will not contradict

g-ratitude, then, at a

you."

moment

was so needed. After all, the not so ill. I seem to have g-one back to the days of my youth, when such things were common. Ah how happy I

when

it

world

is

!

am and how much my young friend." !

hung

Riviere

" May

I

thank you for

I

it,

my

storj' ?

"

cried Laure, "pray go on. guess 3^ou went next to the honest notary." " " The Avhat ? ?

"Oh, yes,"

I

!

!

" The notary that is on our side." "' I did, and what do you think his news was ? That for two days past Perrin had been at him to lend him money upon Beaurepaire." "And he did not turn him out of the room? "

" No

:

"But

he spoke him fair." thought he was our friend."

I

" Nothing of the sort. He is our notary. Perhaps all the better servant for having no heart, and therefore no temper. He had been very civil to Perrin, had promised to try and get him the money, and so was keeping him from going elsewhere. Oh this glacier gave me wiser advice than flesh and blood could have given. I am never five min!

utes with Picard, but I come and wiser."

"And

away

iced

wickeder." sublime indifference). " Clearl^^ He said, 1 have a hundred and twenty thousand francs I will lend you them on Beaurepaire. Go to some other capitalist for a similar sum. The Capitalists total will pay all the debts. for, observe, this rise will not refuse you in the rents plus tlie six thousand francs you have paid off alters the face of the security and leaves a fair margin. Get

Laure.

Edouard

(with

'

:

:

yond poor

Edouard Riviere to have Notary cut notary So tomorrow I ride to Commandant Raynal for a week's leave of absence, and the next day I ride to m}'^ uncle, and beg him to lend a hundred and twenty thousand francs on Beaurepaire. He can do it if he likes. Yet his estate is scarce half so large as yours, and not half so rich, but he has never let any one share it with him. * I'll have no go-between,' says he, little

invented.

*

!

to impoverish us both.'

!

"

"Both whom?" " Self and soil—ha ha The soil is always grateful,' says my uncle ' makes you a return in exact proportion to what you bestow on it in the way of manure and labor men don't.' Saj's he, 'the man that has got one hand in j^our pocket shakes the other fist in j'^our face the man that has got both hands in your pocket spits in your face.' Asking excuse !

his head.

continue

money while I amuse Perrin with false Here was a stroke of policj^ be-

hopes.'

!

'



;

of 3^ou,

who

madame,

is

polished.

honest

He

is

my

for quoting

and

uncle,

shrew^d, but

little

also a bit of a misan-

thrope, and has colored

me

:

this

3'ou

must have observed." " But if he is misanthrope. Monsieur Edouard, he

will

not sympathize with us

— will he not despise us,"who have so mismanaged Beaurepaire ? "Permit me, Josephine,"

said the doc-

"Natural history steps in here, and teaches by me, its mouth-piece ahem A misanthrope hates all mankind, but is tor.



!

A

kind to everybody, generally too kind. philanthrope loves the whole human race, but dislikes his wife, his mother, his brother, and his friends and acquaintances. Misanthrope is the potato rough and repulsive outside, but good to the Philanthrope is a peach his mancore. ner all velvet and bloom, and his words sweet juice, but his heart of hearts a stone. Let me read philanthrope's book, and fall into the hands of misanthrope." " He is right, ladies. My uncle will say plentj^ of biting words, which, by the by, will not hurt you, who will not hear them only me. He will lash us and lend us the monej", and Beaurepaire will be free







:

"

WHITE and it

I shall

— hurrah

have had some "

hand

little

in

!

" Some little hand in it, g-ood angel that Heaven has sent us " said Josephine. Then came a delicious hour to Edouard Riviere. Young and old poured out their glowing thanks and praises upon him till his cheeks burned like fire. Josephine. "And, besides, he raises our spirits so does he not, my mother ? Now, is not the house changed of late, doctor ? I appeal to you." " I offer a frigid explanaSt. Auhin. tion. Among the feats of science is the infusion of blood. I have seen it done. Boiling blood from the veins of the healthy and the j^oung is injected into old or languid vessels. The effect is magical. Well, Beaurepaire was old and languishing. Life's warm current entered it with Edouard ; its languid pulses beat, and its system swells and throbs, and its heart is warm once more, and leaps with the blood of youth, and dances in the sunshine of hope I also am young again, !

:

:

Madame the baroness, gavottons I you and I tra la la la lah, tra la la la lah " Laure. " Ha ha ha Down with science, doctor." " What impiety St. Auhin. Some one will say, down with young ladies next." Laure. " No That would be punishing themselves. Hear my solution of the mystery. Injection of blood and infusion there is none. Monsieur is nothing more or less than a merry imp that has broken into paradise." Josephine. " The fine paradise that it was before the imp came. No it is that a man has come among a parcel of weak women, and put spirit into them." " Also into an old useless St. Auhin. dreamer worth but little." Josephine. " Fie, then It was you who read him at sight. We babble, and he remains uncrowned." Edouard. "No! no! There are no more kings in France " Josephine. " Excuse me, there is the King of Hearts And we are going to crown him. Come, Laure, mamma, since like all the rest.





!

!

!

!

!

!

:

!

!

!

LIES.

107

monsieur has become diffident, would it be very wrong of us to use force just a little?"

"No, provided monsieur permits some

said the baroness, with

Laughter this

Riviere,

a chime of bells followed and to that sweet music

like

speech,

of his

spite

And

crowned.

it,"

hesitation.

mock

in that

dissent,

magic

was

circlet the

young Apollo's beauty shone out bright as a star.

The green crown set off the rich chestnut hair, the shapely head, the rich glowing cheek, and the delicate white brow. Blushes mantled on his face, and triumph beamed in his ardent eyes. He adorned his

crown

" Is

in turn.

permitted to be so handsome as that ? " inquired the baroness with astonishment. "And to be as good as pretty ? " cried it

Josephine.

While he thus sat in well-earned triumph, central pearl set round by loving eyes and happy faces that he had made shine, Jacintha came in and gave him a letter.

" Dard brought

it

up from the town,"

said she.

Edouard, after asking permission, opened the letter, and the bright color ebbed from his cheek. " No ill news, I trust " said the baroness kindly. "' No relation, no friend I

"No, madame,"



man. a temporary annoyance. Do not let it disturb your happiness for a moment." And with these words he dismissed the subject, and was very gay and rather louder than before. Soon after he took his leave. He went into the kitchen, and> after a few earnest words with Jacintha, went into the stable and gave his horse a feed. " Nothing serious

said the 3^oung

;

Tlie baroness retired to rest.

In taking she kissed Laure with more than usual warmth, and, putting her out at arm's length, examined her, then kissed her again. "Stay, doctor," said Josephine, who was about to retire too. " What is it ? What can it be ? " " Some family matter," he said. leave of

them

all,

"

;

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

108

no! Did you not see what a the poor boy went through the moment he read it ; he took off his crown too, and sig-hed, oh, so sadly, as he laid it **!N"o!

strug-g-le

similar sum ; but you must give us three days' notice.'^ *'Good-by, then." " Stay a little longer." '' No I am miserable

down." "Mademoiselle," said Jacintha, come in ? "

softly,

at the door, " may he *' Yes !—yes !

Edouard came sadly. " Is she gone to bed happy

?

"

thanks to you, and we Yes, dear be firm. Keep nothing from us." Edouard just gave her the letter, and leaned his head sorrowfully on his hand. Thej^ all read it together. It was from Picard. Perrin, it seems, had already purchased one of the claims on Beaurepaire, value sixt}^ thousand francs, and now demanded in his own name the sale of the propert}'', upon the general order from the directory. The mayor had consented, and the affiche was even now in the printer's hands. The letter continued *'

!

!

will

:

is to be regretted that

you insulted

Perrin, at this stage of the business. Had you consulted us on this point, we should have advised you not to take any steps of that sort until after the estate should be absolutely safe. We think he

must have followed you to our place and so learned that you are our client in this matter, for he has sent a line to say he will not trouble us, but will get the money elsewhere.'^ '•'That

man

what

Edouard.

cried

after

is

all.

me

girls

to the heart

*'It is I

Oh how hard !

to be wise

The

cuts

who

it is

" !

ruin you

for a

young

" !

came and sat

I repair

my

"We will comfort you." " Nothing can comfort me, but repairing the ill I have done.'' "The ill you have done But for you, " all would have been over long ago "Thank you for saying that oh! thank you will you see me off ? I feei a little daunted for the moment." " Poor boy, yes, we will see you off." They went down with him. He brought his horse round, and they walked together to the garden gate in silence. As he put his foot in the stirrup, Jo" Do not vex yoursephine murmured !

!



:



:

Sleep well to-night after your fatigues, and come to us earlj^ in

self, little

all

beside Edouard,

and, without speaking, glided each a kind into his. The doctor finished the

hand

letter.

''But if you will send me down the new leases in a parcel, we shall perhaps be

able to put a spoke in his wheel still

meantime, we advise you to lose no time in raising a hundred and twenty thousand francs. We renew our offer of a

heart.

the morning."

Edouard checked his horse, who wanted and turning in the saddle cried out with surprise " Why, where do jou

to start

"It

till

folly."

;

:

think I

am

going

?

"

" Home, to be sure." "Home ? while Beaurepaire is in peril sleep while Beaurepaire is in peril What don't you see I am going to mj uncle, twenty leagues from here." " Yes, but not now." "What? fling away half a day !— no, not an hour, a minute the enemy is too keen, the stake is too great." " But think, Ed— Monsieur Edouard," said Laure, " you are so tired." " I was. But I am not now." " But, mon Dieu ! you will kill yourself one does not travel on horseback in the dark by night." " M.i demoiselle, the night and the day are all one to a man when he can serve those he loves." With the very words his impatient heel pricked the willing horse, who started forward, striking fire in the night from the stones with his iron heels, that a moment after rang clear and sharp down the road. They listened to the sounds as thej^ struck, and echoed along, and then rang fainter and fainter !

!

;



WHITE and

fainter, in the still nig-ht.

When

Laure was

in tears.

109

''Yesterday, at noon."

at

they could hear him no more, they went slowly and sadly back to the chalast

teau.

LIES.

Edouard swore. " Oh, don't vex yourself ter Edouard." " But, Marthe, shall

go mad

"No,

like that.

life and death. I go mad " don't .ye; bless you!

it is

I shall

!

don't ye

Mas-



I

will come back before long." " So he will, Marthe he must be back to-day he took but one shirt." " Hum," said Marthe, doubtfully, "that

he

;



CHAPTER

XVI.

those days was full three miles Edouard baited his horse Eng-lish. twenty miles from Beaurepaire he then rode the other forty miles judiciously, but

The French leag-ue in than now it was

long-er

;

:

without He reached his uncle's at three in the morning put his horse in the stable, and, not to disturb the inmates, g-ot in by the kitchen window, which he found the kitchen left open as in the golden age he made it up, and fire was smoldering' dropped asleep on a chair as hard as hard as a philanthropist's heart, doctor. He seemed to have been scarce a minute asleep, when Red Indians screeching- all around woke him with a start, and there stood his uncle's housekeeper, who screamed ag-ain at his jumping up, but died away into an uncertain quaver, and from that rose crescendo to a warm welcome. *' But saints defend us, how you frig-htened me " "You had your revenge. I thought a legion of fiends were j^elling' right into my ear. My uncle is he up ? " a halt. :

:

;



!



Your uncle What, don't you know?" *' No how should I know ? What is '•

!

!

Oh, Heaven, he is dead " No Would he die like that, without settling his affairs ? No, but he is gone."

the matter " Dead ?

?

!

!

**

Where?"

"

We

Took one

don't know.

razor and a comb, and

—just like him."

Edouard groaned.

''When

did he

go?"

off

does not follow. I have seen him wear a good deal more than a da^^." Edouard walked up and down the kitchen in great agitation. To spirits of his kind to be compelled to be passive and wait for others, unable to do anything for themselves, is their worst torture it is fever plus paral^'sis. The good woman soothed him and coaxed him. "Have a cup of coffee. See I have warmed it, and the milk and all," shirt a

shirt,

a

without a word

:



" Thank

3'ou,

my good

Marthe.

I

have

the appetite of a wolf." " And after that go to bed, and the moment your uncle comes I will wake 3'ou."

"Ah! thank

you, good Marthe. Oh, bed by all means. Better be asleep than twiddling one's thumbs awake." So Marthe got him to bed: and, once there, Nature prevailed, and he slept twelve hours at a stretch. Just at sunset he awoke, and took it

yes

;

for sunrise.

He

dressed himself hastily His uncle had not arrived. He did not know what on earth to do. He had a presentiment that while his hands were tied the enemy was work-

and came down.

ing.

" And if not," said he, " why, then, chance is robbing me of the advantage zeal ought to be gaining me." "Wait till to-morrow," said Marthe; "if he does not come I shall have a letter."

Edouard sat down and wrote a lino him his ill luck, and begging the 'doctor to send down the leases to Picard, as he had re-

to Doctor St. Aubin, telling

quested.

"Picard

is

wiser than I am," said he.



"



no letter. Then The morning- came Edouard had another anxiety he was away from his post. Commandant 'R^ynal was a Tartar. He had better ride over and ask for a week's leave of absence and now was the time to do it. On his return perhaps his uncle would be •it home. " Yes I'll saddle Mirabeau and ride



;

!

over, then I shall not be twiddling

thumbs

all

my

day."

Commandant Raynal

about halfbetween his uncle's farm and Beau-

wa}'^

lived

"

As Edouard came in sight of the house a dun pony was standing voluntarily by the door, and presently the notary issued forth, got into the saddle, and ambled Edouard felt a chill toward Edouard. at sight of him, but this was soon followed by a burning heat and a raging desire to go at him like the whirlwind, and ride both him and his beast of a pon^'- into the dust.

He was "

"

No one, monsieur, but I have enemies and I feared one of them might have lately maligned me behind my back." "Citizen Riviere," replied the other, sternl3% " if a man came to me to accuse any one of my officers behind his back, I should send for that oflcer and say to his :

accuser Now, there is the man, look him in the face and say j^our say.' " " I was a fool," cried the young- man " my noble commandant " Enough " said the commandant, '

:



:

!

" Nobod.y has ever said a word against you in mx' hearing. It is true," he added satirically^ "xery few have ever mentioned j^^ou at all." " My name has not been mentioned to you to-day, commandant ? " rudel}'.

repaire.

obliged to keep saying to himor two, wait a da^^ or

Wait a day

two," and did not trust himself to look at the man as they passed one another. The other looked at him, though, through his half-open lids, a glance of bitter malignit\'. Meeting his enemy so suddenly, and at his commandant's house, discomposed Edouard g-reatly, perplexed

him

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

110

self,

"

greatly.

" Can these notaries dixine one's very plans before they are formed ? " said he to himself " can these practiced villains? He has come here simply to do me no. some general mischief, to set my commandant against me he has timed the attack well, now that I have a favor to ask him, and he such a disciplinarian." Edouard came before Raynal despondently, and after tlie usual greeting said " I have a favor to ask you, command;



:

"No! —halt!

Read that dispatch while I give an order outside." Edouard read the dispatch, and the blood rushed to his brow at one sentence

you.'

in

Speak !" rang out the commandant. ''A short leave of absence?" " Humph ''On pressing affairs: oh, monsieur, do not refuse me " "Who tells you that I shall refuse you?" asked the commandant, roughly. ^'

!

!

"Edouard

it:

Riviere

is

active,

and punctual. In six months more you can safely promote him."

zealous,

was all but not a" creature besides was praised at all. The commandant returned. "Oh, commandant, what goodness! "

This



:

—how

" Citizen, I rose from the ranks guess " By valor, by chivalry, by Spart !

"

?





Gammon by minding m^' business there is the riddle key and that is why my eye is on those who mind their business 3'ou are one; I have praised j'ou !

:

:

— —so, now,

how many daj's do you waste ? Speak." "A few, a very few." " Are ye in love ? That is enough ^you are more fool you. Is it to go after her for

it

want

to





3'ou fall to the

"No

ant."

" cried the exact soldier,

" except by the servant who announced

indeed,

rear?" commandant."

" Look me in the face There are but two men in the world the man Avho keeps his word, and the man who breaks The first is an honest man, the it. second is a liar, and waiting- to be a thief; if it is to run after a girl, take a week anything else, a fortnight. No 1 !



:



"

WHITE I have not time for chitno thanks chat. March." Edouard rode away in triumph. *' Long hve the Commandant Raynal he shouted. " He is not flesh and blood. He is metal he rings, loud and true. His words are not words, they are notes and after beingof some g-olden trumpet with him five minutes one feels like !

!

:

;

beating- all the notaries on earth." He reached his uncle's place. *^N"ot

letter

from

Edouard was ready to tear his hair. " Gone to Paris with one shirt Who !

could foresee a human creature going from any place but Bicetre to the capital Order my of the world with one shirt horse, Marthe. He will turn it, I suppose, after the first week. That will be a compliment to the capital. Ten thou!

go mad.

I shall

!

are

you going,

my

answered. In the evening he got his uncle to him-

and told him his story, and begged advance the two hundred and fort.y thousand francs on mortgage. His uncle received the proposal coldly. "I don't see my way to it, Edouard," " I must draw m3^ money out said he, of the public funds, and they are rising fast. No I can't do it." Edouard implored his uncle not to look on it in that light, but as a benevolent action, that would be attended with less loss than actions of such merit usually ;

are.

" But

young



" But he is coming home he is coming home " she cried " you don't read the letter." "True: he is coming home to-dsbj or to-morrow. Heaven above, how these old men talk as if to-day and to-morrow were the same thing, or any thing like the same thing. I shall ride to Paris." *' Then you will miss him on the road." " Give me paper and ink, Marthe. I Ah how will write letters all day. unlucky I am " He wrote a long letter to St. Aubin, telling him all he had done and suffered. He wrote also to the notary, conjuring him again to watch the interests of Beaurepaire keenlj'- while he should be away. Then he got his horse and galloped round and round his uncle's paddock, and suffered the tortures that sluggish spirits never feel and cannot !

,

!

!

!

a sou for those

them —but you do

;

!

I lose

for

Equip me lend me a shirt. has he not ? " one left, has He Marthe did not even deign to notice this skit.

should "

my

uncle

heart

Paris.

why

aristocrats? " If you knew

monsieur? "

" To

!

Order

mj^ horse."

"Where



The next afternoon oh, joj^ his uncle's burly form appeared and gave him a heartj'' welcome. The poor boy wanted to open his business at once, but he saw there was no chance of his being listened to, till a good score of farm questions had been put and realize.

self

his uncle, dated Paris.

sand devils

Ill

his uncle to

come home, Master Edouard."

The cold fit fell on him. The next morning- came a

LIES.

:

do

it

to

is tied

me

!

—for

not,

me whose

them forever " !

" Pheugh Well, look here, Edouard, if you have really been fool enough to fall in love there, and have a mind to play Georges Dandin, I'll find you somemone^^ for the part but I can't afford so much as this, and I wash my hands of your !

;

" Enough,

my

uncle.

I

have not then whom you

a friend in the world but those call aristos."

"You

are an ungrateful boy.

who have no

friend

:

and

I

came to see me out of love old was for monej'-, like all the rest." :

It is I

thought he fool

!

it

" You insult me, my uncle. But you have the right. I do not answer. I go

away." " Go to all the devils, my nephew " Edouard was interrupted on his way to the stables by old Marthe. " No, my young monsieur, you do not !

leave us like that."

" He insulted me, Marthe." " Ah, bah he insults me three times a week, and I him for that matter but we don't part any the more for that. He !

:

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

112

shall apolog-izc. Above all, he shall lend It won't your aristocrats the money.

ruin us."

" Why, Marthe, you must have

lis-

tened."

" Parbleu / and a

You

g-ood thing- too.

You

he has had his bark, and there is not much bite in him, poor man, thoug-h he thinks he is full

keep quiet.

will see

of it." ''

my

Oh,

g"ood

Marthe,

I

know

his

character, and that he is g-ood at bottom, but to come here and wait, and wait, and lose days when every hour was gold, and

then to be denied. Mon Dieu! where should 1 come for help but to my mother's brother ? Alas I have no other kindred " Martha prevailed on him to stay. This done, she went and attacked her master. " Are you content ? " asked she, calmly, " He dusting' a chair, or pretending- to. weeps." ''Who weeps ? " !

!

" Our guest

—our

nephew

—our

pretty

child."

" All the worse for him. You don't know then he insulted me." " To whom do you tell that ? I was at



!

" The boot 3"ou

who

is on the other leg ; it is treated him cruelly. He weeps,

and he is going away." ''Going? Where?" " Do I know? Where you bade him M" go f

!

1

!

"That

gives

me

pain, that he should

go like that." "I knew it would, our master, so

I

stopped him, sore against his will." "You did well; that will be worth a new gown to you. What did you say to him ? " said, 'You must not take things heart like that; our master is a vile to

"I



:

we came." " That

" temper " Ye lied " 'But he has a good heart.' " " You spoke the truth I am too good." "'He is your mother's brother,' said I, 'and though he is a little wicked he '

!

;

"

confound it "As for my dirt of money, and I have rolled up a good bit in yowv service, for you know you never were stingy to me I " " Because I never caught you robbing me, you old jade." is

true,

!

" I shall let him have tliat, anj'-way." " If you dare to say such a word to hitn

wring j^our neck round who are come with your three coins between sister's son and me ? be off, and cook I'll

;

3'ou to

my

the dinner."

"I go, our master." Uncle and nephew met at dinner and nephew, after his rebuff, talked anything but monej". After dinner, which Marthe took care should be much to his taste, the old man leaned back in his chair, and said with a good-humor as large as the ocean "Now, nephew, about this little affair of yours ? Now is the time to come to a :

:

man

the keyhole." " ''

Ugh

does not hate j'ou at the bottom. Stay with us, and don't talk about money,' said I, 'that nettles him.' For all that, master, I could not help thinking to myself, we are old, and we can't take our money away with us our time will soon come when we must go away as bare as

for money after dinner I feel like doing anything, however foolish, to make all the world happy before I die." Edouard, finding him in this humor, told the story of Beaurepaire more fully, and laid bare his own feelings to an auditor who, partly for good-humor, partly remorse, exhibited an almost ludicrous ;

amount

of sji-mpathy, real or factitious,

with every sentiment, however delicate, Edouard exhibited to him. He concluded by vowing they should have the monej'^ if the security was sound " And it must be," said he, " be:

cause the rents are raised, and you have paid off one of the mortgages. How long can you give me ? " " Oh, m3'^ dear uncle, we may have a deadly enem3\ Time is gold, too." " Let us see to-morrow is market-day, and the next day is the fair." ;

Edouard sighed. " The day after we



will see

about

it."

;

:

WHITE Edouard groaned. " I mean we will go down in

the let

!

money

in

to the Mairie

our pocket."

me embrace

you,

Thus a term was put

to

my

uncle."

Edouard 's

In three days his uncle would

anxieties.

be the sole creditor of Beaurepaire. Still he could not help counting- the hours, and he did not really feel safe till Thursday' evening- came, and his uncle showed him an apoplectic pocket-book, and ordered his Norman horse, a beast of singular power and bottom, to be fed earlj^ for the journey.

The youth was in a old

man

delicious reverie

calmly smoking- his pipe

:

:

the

when

Marthe brought a letter in that the postman had just left. It was written in a lady's hand. His heart throbbed Marthe watched him with a smile, and found an excuse for hang-ing- about. He opened it his eye went like lig-htning- to :

the signature.

Laure

Rose de Beaurepaire. The sweet name was on its way to Ag-las

when he

eag-er lips,

his

caug-ht sig-ht of a

word or two above it that struck him like some icy dag-ger. He read, and the color left his

very

He

sat with the letter, turned into stone, all but his quivering- lip, and the tremblinghands that held that dear handwriting-. lips.

and seemed a

113

" Perhaps means to lend him his money instead of me." His suspicions went no further. But the next day a gossip told him the Beaurepaire tenants had been screwed up

he.

my cabriolet." "Ah!" "And " Ah

LIES.

man

thirty pegs.

He saw

at once the consequences to the

His vengeance would escape him

estate.

as well as his prize. He took a quick resolution and acted

upon

He

it.

rode to

Commandant Raynal.

That officer, it may be remembered, had months ago given him a commission to buy an estate. He had been looking out for one for him ever since, but unluckily he had not been able to find a bad enough one to suit. An agent looks not to his employer's interest but his own. The small nominal percentage he receives is a mere blind. He would not give 3^ou the detriment of his own judgment for a paltry- five per cent. From a pianoforte to a house, and down again to that most

despised property, an author's creation, agency is an organized swindle. Perrin had his eye on Beaurepaire when

Raynal first gave him the commission but he never for a moment intended to get his employer such a bargain as that. He was waiting till some one should have an estate to sell worth one hundred and eighty thousand francs. He would have gone to this man and said, " Now if I get you 3' our money, five per cent comes to me of course." This being assented to, he would have kept quiet awhile then he would have come back, and said, " I can get you a customer, but you must ask tw^o hundred and fifty thousand francs— the odd seventj'^ thousand over your price is :

CHAPTER

XYII.

for

me."

This

is

the principle of agencj^ as prac-

ticed in France, in

Notary

read notary. The pieces of that placard flung- in Perrin's face were a revelation as well as an affront. He made inquiries and soon learned the statesman was the champion of Beaurepaire and also a client of Picard. Puttingthe two together, he suspected his rival had been playing- with him. " Picard is playing that young ruffian's game," said (H)

England, and above

Poland, where an apple can't change hands without an Israelite to come between the two silly natives, and pass it across after peeling it thick. But neither in France, England, nor Poland was the principle in all its branches better understood than by this worthy notary. And to those principles he was now for the first time about to be a traitor. Beall in

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

114

hold him jog-g-ing along- oij the dun pony, to give his principal the hest bargain in

the country-side.

A sharp pang of remorse shot through him at the thought hut he never wavFortunately for himself he was not ered. He was vindictive, as well all one vice. :

as grinding; was capable of sacrificing, not bis interest perhaps, but a percentWhen we are age on it, to revenge. bent on doing a thing we find reasons of

He

all sorts.

said to himself, " I shall be

agent he is a soldier never there perhaps get knocked on the head die intestate aha?" In short a his steward, his

;







vista of possible consequences.

Raynal cut short the notary's glowing description of the unrivaled bargain he had with unexampled zeal and fidelitj^ secured him.

*'Whatis tobe done?" We must go together

''

at Santenoy

money from

''My bankers?

;

"

knap-

twenty-seven years' purchase. Since I put up that placard the rents have been

then

it

is

bankers

all in

?

my

"

we can

settle this

imme-

diately."

we

!

can't

!

public business

afterward."

private

He

first,

a

consulted

card. " To-morrow, after one o'clock, I'm free ^be at Santenoy at three will that





do?" "Yes, monsieur." " Get everything read}^ I will ride down hy three. How much money ? " "About two hundred and fiftj'- thou;

sand francs." " I did not ask you about how much said the precisian.

nevermind,

I'll

I

order from

in evidence of which the leases have been sent over to me. Here the\'' are. Since j'ou propose to purchase, you are at liberty to inspect them. For two hundred and ninety-five thousand one hundred and forty francs, the chateau and the estate are j'-ours." "This is Picard," said Perrin, spite-

raised

"Ah! No

!

to

you require

j^our

sack."

"

:

:

How many days shall

get your

;

ought to have altered it. The the directory mentions no sum. It is conceived in general terms the estate is to be sold for a certain sum, over and above the capital of the rents at

''Good."

"

;

ally.

to the mayor,

"

?

that was building in the town of Santenox. Perrin went in and had audience of the m.aj'or, and announced a purchaser of Beaurepaire the mayor's countenance fell. He loitered about was a long time finding this document and that at last he said, " Have you got the money ? " " Yes " said the notary, " two hundred and fifty thousand francs. Here the.y are." The mayor pottered about again found a paper,; put on his spectacles. "That is not tlie price," said he ; " the estate is worth two hundred and ninety-five thousand francs." " How can that be, monsieur ? two hundred and fifty thousand is the figure on your placard." " So it is," said the mayor, apologetic-

"I

said

" !

how much

?

bring enough. Good day."

Next day, at a quarter before three, Perrin Avas parading in some anxietj'- before the Mairie. Just at the stroke of three up clattered the commandant in full uniform off his horse in a moment, and got a boy to hold it. He gave Perrin two ;

hundred and fifty thousand francs, and sent him to the Mairie to buy Beaurepaire while he went to inspect a small barrack

:

fully.

The ma^'or affected not to hear him. Perrin went out to tell this rebuff to Rajmal. He found him inspecting the barrack. He explained the matter, and excused himself, throwing the blame on the mayor, who, not being a man of business, allowed a placard with false figures to stand upon his wall. "Well, but," said Raynal, "since it turns out to be worth two hundred and ninety-five thousand

one hundred

and

forty francs, instead of two hundred and fifty thousand francs, all the better for me it is only paying the odd money." :

" But where are we to get it ? I would lend it you to-morrow, but to-morrow

may

be too late."

:!

WHITE '*

Oh,

I

fi-ancs in ''

ly.

have got another

my pocket,"

I broug-ht all I

not seem very clear

fifty

thousand

said the other cool-

have got

you did

;

how much we

should

want." " Come to the mayor, monsieur, at " cried ti:e exulting notary "make haste, or he will pretend it is after office hours." When the commandant entered, epaulet on shoulder, sword clanking, and laid down the whole purchase-monej^ demanded, the mayor made no further resistonce

;

!

LIES.

115

glittering with gratified malice. " WhjT-, he lives close to the chateau." " Good then we can sally out on it in the morning." " Yes commandant ^yes You have

eyes

!



!

;

!

workmen." As the commandant went

to the bar" ' My himself property,' those words have a fine sound. They ought, too cost one hundred and fifty thousand francs apiece. By St. Denis, I am a fortunate man there are racks, he thought

ance.

He was

personally acquainted with Raynal admired him, stood in awe of him, and of the sword whose power he represented. As for Raynal, he bought the property he had never seen, much as you buy a hot roll across a counter. From this moment the ancient lands, timber, chateau, fish-ponds, manorial, and baronial rights in abeyance, and the oak-tree that was older than the family itself, belonged to a soldier who had risen from the ranks, and to the heirs of his plebeian body. " I can sleep there to-night, eh ? " The notarj"- stared, and then smiled here was a man who outran even his vengeance. He explained to him that he could not sleep at his own house till he had turned :

:

The law requires that serve a notice on them. " Let us go and serve it, then." " But it is not even drawn up."

his lodgers out.

we

!

bright ideas, that is the place to sally from " and he chuckled fiendishly. " At ten to-morrow I call on you ; and we take possession of your property." " So be it at ten. Good-daj'-. I must go back to the barracks and spur the

to

:

:

!

many

not say,

'

soldiers of

my

age that can

n\Y property,' especially soldiers

have carried a knapsack. Howproud my poor old mother would be Ah that spoils it all. She will not sit facing me on the hearth. It would be that !

her new house or our new house. It will only be mine. Allons ! I am an ungrateful cur to whine. We can't have everything. I'm not the first to whom prosperit}' has come a year or so too late. I shall not be the last. Her dream of paradise used to be a house in the country. Duty " And the sword clanked on the pavement as he walked sharply to spur the workmen, before riding up to his quarters for the night. :

!

" Draw

it up." then it has to be engrossed." ** Engross it. I'll wait here." " But it must be served before noon of the day it is served on." " Sac-r-r-r-r-d ! ! dog of a law that can't do a single thing without half a dozen preliminaries. The baj^onet forever. Well, let me see. One of my officers lives near at hand. He is absent on leave. Do you know him ? His name *'

And

!

is

Riviere."

" I know him by sight." I'll take possession of his quarters for the niglit his landlady knows me." "Yes! yes!" cried the notary, his *'

:

CHAPTER

XVIII.

After Edouard's departure Josephine de Beaurepaire was sad, and weighed down with presentiments. "My friend," said she to St. Aubin, " I feel as I think soldiers must feel who know the enemj' is undermining them no danger on the surface nothing that can be seen, met, baffled, attacked, or evaded. In daily peril, all the more hor:

— ;

!

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

116

rible that it imitates perfect serenitj^, they await the fatal match." "You exaggerate," replied St. Aubin, soothingly. " We have a friend still more zealous and active than our enemy believe me, your depression is really caused by his absence we all miss the contact of that young- heroic spirit; we are a body, and he its soul." Josephine was silent, for she said to " Why should I dash these herself spirits ? they are so happy and confident." So after that she remained alone in her musings. Edouard had animated Laure and St. Aubin with a courage that withstood the fears caused by the notary's

ess his arm as soon as she should come down. " What a delicious morning, Josephine! the dear doctor is right the morning is really a good time to walk, the air seems perfumed." ;

" Yes, Laure,

:

:

last blow.

As

for the baroness, she

like

a fad-

:

!

It

was a balmy morning, though

late

Josephine and Laure had breakfasted, and were walking slowlj'- on the south terrace, by ordinance of physician. Recent events had brought St. Aubin quite down out of the clouds. His attention being fairly awakened to all sublunary affairs on his beat, he now superintended the health of the entire family with extraordinary severity'. Not being an apothecary with drugs to sell, right or wrong, or a physician in league with a retailer of drugs, he prescribed to each of these three ladies every dry day, and to the younger ones every day, a draught of morning air. He was now waiting in the hall to give the baronin the

year;

much

as

we

let

us enjoy our

can, since 2iny daj^

home as we may

lose it."

" Now are you going to begin fears

idle

The estate

!

is

?

—such

for sale, but

is scarce. Who can find such a quantity of it all in a moment ? Clearly it must be some one who loves us." " Or some one who hates us." " Oh, love is stronger than hate." " In 3^ou." "In everybody. Here is mamma here

money

!

was

ing plant revived by showers and sun. The system they pursued with her, which Edouard dubbed reticence, made her a happy old woman. She was allowed to see her own champion's last move, and then the curtain was dropped. Tiiis then was to her the whole face of affairs her rents raised, the only hostile creditor she knew of paid off, a thousand francs in the house, and an ardent youth with the face of an angel added to her family and her heart. Shall I own that even juicy meat and Arabian coffee co-operated with nobler incidents to cheer and sustain her? no This refined lady was all soul like yourself, Mrs. Reader





is

"

mamma

!



Then how you young people of an unceremonious age would have laughed the Demoiselles de Beaurepaire, inasmuch as this was their mother's first appearance, lowered their fair heads at the same time, like 3'oung poplars bowing to the wind, and so waited reverently till she had slightly lifted her hands, and said " God bless you, my children " !

!

was done in a moment on both sides, but was full of grace and piety and the charm of ancient manners. It

"

How is

our dear mother's health this

morning?"

inquired Josephine.

" You must ask monsieur ; he has become tyrannical, and forbids me to have an opinion on such points." " The baroness is well, mesdemoiselles, but she will be better when she has taken

my

prescription

— one

turn before break-

and two draughts of you know what." " Perhaps, since you know everything, doctor, you will tell me how mamma slept?" inquired Laure, a little pertly. " She slept well if she took what I gave fast

her."



" But did she take what you gave her ? ha! ha! You don't know." " To ascertain that I must feel her

pulse."

"I

slept,

" Ingrate

"For

I

Laure, and I am sorry I did." " said the doctor. !

dreamed, doctor, and

it

was an



"

WHITE ug-ly dream. I was with you all in the garden, on this very spot or near it. But it was not at this time of year, for I was admiring- mj' flowers and my old friends the trees, and the birds were singSuddenly a ing- with all their might. loud clock struck. I do not know what hour, but it struck a great many times. In a moment flowers, trees, sky, and the light of day were gone. I looked I could see no more m}^ beloved dwelling nor my



children's eyes. Shall I tell you what it means ? " said the old lad3', gravely. **It means that I was dead. An ugly

LIES.

117

Josephine, there

Mamma is

ill

something the matter!

is

—her dream

!

"Hush hush hush " cried Jacintha, who came toward them, wringing her hands. "Oh, mesdemoiselles oh, mesdemoiselles the chateau oh, don't let my poor mistress know it will kill her. Oh, what shall I do ? what shall !

1

!



I

!

— —



do?"

—be calm, Jacintha," her voice. " Now one word—oh my presentiments — Beaurepaire " "

Be calm, Laure

said Josephine, trembling all over, except !

!

!

dream, my children an ugly dream. Again, had it come a month ago but now all is so bright and hopeful, I wish to stay with my darlings a little longer." *'It was only a dream, dear mother,"

Jacintha clasped her hands and burst out sobbing. " It is sold," said Josephine. "Heaven give me wisdom, what shall I do? quick, girl, who to ? to that man to Perrin ? " "To a stranger, to an officer, a grand

cried Josephine gayly.

officer.





*'

See, here

is

your terrace and your

chateau." ''And here are your daughters,"" said Laure ; and they both came close to her to put their existence out of doubt. " And here is your faithful though useless old friend." !

all."

prescribe breakfast,

madame,

and oblivion of idle dreams. You will walk half an hour more, young ladies." The sisters took several turns in silence. Laure was the first to speak. " How superstitious you are, my sister."

" I?

I

"No

;

Dard

told

cursed be it." " A Bonapartist I

have

killed

"No

!

"

!

No

ness.

no

!

!

me

the very name,

Then we are

ruined.

my own mother." my sister—she will

faint."

This is no time for weak, to the Pleasance. There is

Laure.

Come

water there. I love my mother I love my mother " She went with tottering steps toward the pool in the Pleasance, but turning the corner she started back with a convulsive cry, and her momentarj^ feebleness !

"Breakfast, madame " and Jacintha courtesied to each lady in turn. "Jacintha has turned the conversation agreeably. I was going to cloud you

"I now



have said nothing." but you look volumes.

left her directly she crouched against the wall and gripped the ancient cornerstone with her tender hand till it powdered, and she spied with dilating eye into the Pleasance, Laure and Jacintha panting behind her. Two men stood, with their backs turned to her, looking at the oak-tree one an officer in full uniform, the other the human snake Perrin. Though the soldier's back was turned, ;

:

I bslieve

young madman more than in our dear mother's dreams." "He will do all he can. Yes ^.ves I think with you his energy, his spirits, will defeat our enem3^" " Of course they will, Josephine. I am glad you begin to look at things as they are. See how our mother's health and spirits are improving; no wonder, since everything now is bright and here comes Jacintlia in a wonderful hurry mamma wants us. No ; how white she is. Oh, in our

!



!





!

his off-handed,

peremptory manner told

her he was inspecting the place as master.

its

" The baroness the baroness " cried Jacintha, with horror. They looked round, and the baroness was at their very backs. !

!

"What

is it ? " cried she, gayly, " Nothing, mamma " " Let me see this nothing ? " !

They glanced at one another, and,

idle



"

"

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

118

as tlie attempt was, the habit of sparing her prevailed, and fhey flung- themselves between her and the blow. '' Josephine is not well, my mother. She wants to go in." Both girls faced the baroness. " Yes, if my mother will go with me," said Josephine. ''Jacintha," said the baroness, *' fetch Monsieur St. Aubin. There, I have sent her away. So now tell me why do you drive me back in this wa}^ ? " " Did I ? I was not aware." '' Children, something has happened ; " and she looked keenly from one to the other.

''Jean Raynal, domiciled by right, in fact at the chateau of Beaurepaire, acting by the pursuit and diligence of Master Perrin, notary ; I Guillaume Le Gras, bailiff, give notice to Josephine Aglae St. Croix de Beaurepaire, commonly called the Baroness de Beaurepaire, having no known place of abode

and lodging



" Oh " !

" but lodging wrongfully at the said chateau of Beaurepaire, that she is warned to decamp within twenty-four hours



" Oh, mamma, do not go that way there are strangers in the Pleasance."

" Let

me

see



I tell

you !

into

my garden

"

?

force.

"What

our Pleas-

am

pray do not use frightened enough already'. I did not know I was doing

wrong. I have been here thirty But, since Beaurepaire is sold, I comprehend perfectly that I must go. It is just. As you say, I am not in my own anj'^thing

years.

ance."

"Josephine Laure oh my heart " " Yes, mother that officer has bought !

!

!

!

!

the chateau." " It is impossible He was to buy it for us—there is some mistake what man !



I would kill a poor old woman like me he wears a will speak to this monsieur sword. Soldiers do not trample on women. Ah that man." The notary, attracted by her voice, came toward her, a paper in his hand. Raynal coolly inspected the tree, and tapped it with his scabbard, and left Perrin to do the dirty work. The notary took off his hat, and, with a malignant affectation of respect, pre!

;

!

sented the baroness with a paper. The poor old thing took it with a courtesy the effect of habit, and read it to her daughters as well as her emotion permitted and the language, which was as new to her as the dialect of Cat Island to

Columbus.

" !

no, messieurs,

I

Mon Dieu ! in

Dieu

!

"failing which, that she will be thereto enforced in the manner for that case made and provided with the aid of all the -officers and agents of the public force."

"Ah!

''Mother, they are not intruders."

do you mean? " " They have a right to be

Ah

!

So

I will see.

there are. Insolents Call Jacintha, that I may order these people out of my premises." "Mother, for Heaven's sake," cried Josephine, " be calm." " Be calm when impertinent intruders

come

" To decamp

house. shall

I will

go,

my

go,

I

Whither The house

messieurs.

children

?

where you were born to me is ours no Excuse me, gentlemen this is nothing to you. Ah sir, you have revenged 3'ourself on two weak women



longer.

!

may God forgive j^ou In twenty-four in twenty-four hours the hours 3^es Baroness de Beaurepaire will trouble no one more in this world." The notary turned on his heel. The poor baroness, all whose pride the iron law, with its iron gripe, had crushed with dismay and terror, appealed to him. "Oh, sir send me from the house, but not from the soil where my Henri is laid is there not in all this domain a corner !

!

!

!

I

where she who was its mistress may lie Where is the new baron, down and die that I may ask the favor of him on my !

knees

?

"



— WHITE She turned toward Raynal, and seemed to be g'oing- toward him with outstretched arms. But Laure checked her with fervor

" Oh,

Ask

mamma,

do not lower yourself Let us !

nothing- of these wretches

!

lose all, but not forg-et ourselves."

The baroness had not her daughter's

Her very person

spirit.

tottered under

Josephine supported her, and the next moment St. Aubin came out and hastened to her side. Her head fell back what little streng-th she had failed her. She was half hfted, half led into the house. this blow.

:

Commandant Raynal was amazed

at

all this.

"

What

the deuce

is

the matter

?

" said

he.

"

Oh " !

used to these ness." '^But I *'

You

the

said

little

am

notar3^ " We are scenes in our busi-

not," replied the soldier. me there was to be all

never told

this fuss."



time I will meet you here, and we will take actual possession. Adieu " ''Good day." !

The

soldier strode

He

up and down the

twisted his muttered, and pested, and

Pleasance.

mustaches,

was

ill

at

ease.

Accustomed to march g-ayly into a town and see the reg'iment that was there before marching gayly out, or vice versa, and to strike tents twice a quarter at he was

prepared for such a True, he did not hear the baroness's words, but more than one tone least,

119

thought he, " I am the all say so. proprietor. Instead of which I feel like a thief like a butcher. Fancy any one getting so fond of a place "'

Confound

it,"

They



as

all tills."

Presently it occurred to him that the shortness of the notice must have a great deal to do with their distress. '" What an ass that Perrin is not to tell me the house was full of women. But these notaries comprehend nothing save women can't Left should-der law like us they forward quick march have such piles of baggage they never can Perstrike tents when the order comes. haps if I were to give them twenty -four " days instead of hours ? hum ? commandant fell into a With this the thing for him, who rare brown stud^^, a much work. so and had so little time Now each of us has his attitude of brown study. One runs about the room like hyena in his den another stands stately with folded arms (this one seldom thinks another sits cross-legto the purpose) another must put ged, brows lowered his head into his hand, and so keep it up to thinking mark another must twiddle a bit of string or a kej^ grant him This comthis, he can hatch an epic. mandant must draw himself up very straight, and walk six paces and back very slowly till the problem was solved there I will be frank he had done a good deal of sentinel work and such is the force of early habits, that when he was not busy, only thinking, his body '

:





!

'



:



:

:

What

does it matter to you, monsieur the house is yours. To-morrow at this *^

LIES.

little

scene as this.

of sharp distress reached him where he stood, and the action of the whole scene was so expressive there was little need of words. He saw the notice given ^the dismay it caused, and the old lady turn imploringly toward him with a speaking gesture, and above all he saw her carried away, half fainting, her hands clasped, her reverend face pale. He was not a man of quick sensibilities. He did not thoroughly take the scene in it grew



:

upon him afterward.

:

:



:





:

slipped back to its original habit. While he was guarding the old oaktree, for all the world as if it had been the still

gate of the Tuileries or the barracks, Josephine de Beaurepaire came suddenly out from the house and crossed the Pleasance her hair was in disorder, her manner wild she passed swiftlj^ into the :

:

park.

Now

Raj^nal

was puzzling himself how know the}^ need not pack

to let the family

up

their caps

hours.

and laces

in

twenty-four

The notary was gone, and he

did

not like to enter the house. " It is theirs for four-and-twent}^ hours," said he, "and I should be like the black

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

120 dog- in their eyes

I

if

So when

went in."

Josephine he said ''Ah, tliis will do: here is one of them, " I'll tell her

he caught sight

of

!

He

followed her accordingij'^ into the park but it was not so easy to catch her she flew. ''Want my cavalry to come :



this one,'' muttered Raynal. He took his scabbard in his left hand and ran after her she was, however, still many yards in ad vance of him when she entered a small building which is not new to us, though it was so to Raynal. He came up and had his foot on the very step to go in when he was arrested by that he heard

up with

:

within.

Josephine was praying' aloud prayingand sobs and all her soul wrestling so in praj^er with a dead saint as by a strange perversity men cannot or will not wrestle with Him who alone can hear a million prayers at once from a million different places, can realize and be touched with a sense of all man's infirmities in a way no single saint with his partial experience of them can realize and be touched by them, who unasked suspended the laws of nature that had taken a stranger's only son, and she a widow who wept at human sorrow while the eyes of all the g-reat saints that stood :

to the Virgin with sighs :



it and Him were dry; The soldier stood, his right foot on the step and his sword in his left hand, transfixed listening gravely to the agony of

around

:

prayer the innocent j^oung creature poured forth within.

" Oh, Mother

know not what they are

doing-. But you. Heaven, you know all and, sweet mother, if you have kind sentiments toward me, the poor Josephine, oh show them now for you know it was I who insulted that wicked notary, and it is out of hatred to me he has sold our beloved house to a hard stranger. Look down on me, a child who loves her mother, yet will destroy her unless you pity me and help me. Oh, my God, what shall I say ? what shall I do ? merc}'^ mercy for my poor mother,

Queen

of

:

:

!

!

for

me

!

" I

Here her prayer was broken b}^ sobs. The soldier withdrew his foot quietly. Thought he, " It is hardly the part of a

man

to listen to this poor girl

have heard enougii

besides,

I.

:

prayer.

Raynal looked at his watch. " She does not finish," said he, quaintly. Josephine little thought who was her She came to sentinel before the chapel. the door at last, and there he was marching backward and forward upright and stiff. She g-ave a faint scream and drew back with a shudder. Not being very quick at interpreting emotion, Raynal noticed her alarm, but not her repugnance he saluted her with militar}'^ precision by touching his cap as only a soldier can. " word with you, mademoiselle " " With me, monsieur ? what can you have to say to me ? " and she began to :

hear me it is A She will die she You know she cannot live if will die she is taken away from her house and from this holy place where she prays tremble. " Don't be frightened " said Raynal, to you this man}'' years. Oh, Queen of Heaven put out your hand to us un- in a tone not very reassuring. " I propose an armistice a conference." Virgin, hear a virgin fortunates "I am at your disposal, monsieur," mother, listen to a child who prays for The doctor says she said Josephine, assuming a calmness that her mother's life She is too was belied by the long- swell of her heavwill not live away from here. old to wander over the world. Let them ing bosom. "You must not be afraid of me, my we are young, but not drive us forth Forgive the young lady there is nothing to be afraid her, mother, oh, not her they are of." cruel men that do this thing " No, monsieur ; I am not frightened like those who crucified your Son they for

my

of

mother's

God

:

!



life.

!

!

!

!

!

'

;

her words knock against my breast-bone let me reflect." And he marched slowly to and fro before the chapel, upright as a dart and stiff as a ramrod. Josephine's voice was heard again in :

!





!

:



!

!





"

"

'

WHITE

—not

much

——

but you are a and strang-er to me ^*^And an enemy." "We have no right to hate 3"0U, sir.

You an

did not

frightened



know

You just wanted —and —oh —

us.

estate, I suppose

!

''Let us come to the point, since I

a

man

of few

am

words."

My mother may

**If 3^ou please.

miss

me."

when

*' I was in position on the flank the notarj^ delivered his fire."

"Yes." I saw the

"

"Ah

!

was kind even

to care that

much

"

When

you came flying out I followed word to you. I could not catch you. I listened while you prayed to the Virgin. That was not a soldier-like trick, you will sa}'. I confess it." " I am not angry, monsieur, and 3'ou heard nothing

I

blush for."

" No b}'- St. Denis Well to the point. " love your mother !





Young

lady,

you

has she on earth but her "

chil-

" Young lady,

my

had a mother I loved young lady. She promised me I

;

faithfully not to die

till I should be a she went and died before I was a commandant even just before, too." "Then I pity you," murmured Jo-

colonel

shall be honored," said Josephine

Then he told her all about how he had vexed her when he was a boy, and gone for a soldier though she was all for trade and how he had been the more anxious to see her enjoy his honors and ;

m3'-

Ah

!

—and

;

sephine.

" She pities me What a wonderful thing a word is No one has been able to find the right word to say to me till !

!

to-day. 'Ah! bah!' saj'-s one. people will die,' says another."

'Old

" Oh " " Take a 3'oung one and forget her that is the favorite cry of all, mademoi!

'

!

selle."

"Certainly a person of monsieur's merit need never want a young woman, but that is different it is wicked to talk



so."

" For all that, you are the only one " that has said, 'I pity you !

'

said he appeal-

was put on shoulder in Italy, she died in Pans. how could 3^ou have the heart to do

that,

my

day

this epaulet

woman ?

old

"

mustache quivered, and

soldier's

he turned away bruskly and took several Then he came back to Josephine. steps.

"Monsieur," said she tenderly, "she would have lived if she could, to please it is I who tell you so." 3'ou, not herself "I believe it," cried Raynal, a light breaking in on him " how can you read my mother ? 3^ou never saw her? " " Perhaps I see her in her son." The purple eye had not been idle all



this time.

"You

dren's love? her,

"I

politely.

:

quite the contrary.

!

What

said Ra3'nal eagerl3'^.

The

to say a

"

!

ingh^, " the

monsieur."

for our feelings.' ''

you " repeated Josephine, her beginning to dwell on him instead of turning from him. " Shall I tell 3''ou about her and me," I pit 3^

soft purple eye

"And, mademoiselle,"

distress." '

It

"

121

success.

woman's

old

" And I said to myself, This Beaure" paire campaign begins unluckily.' "

LIES.

are

wonderfull3^

quick,"

said

Raynal, looking at her with more and more surprise " and what is the matter ? " Josephine's e3'es were thick with



tears.

"

What ?

of cr34ng for m3^

3'ou are within

an inch have

—30U who

mother

your own trouble at this hour." "Monsieur, our situations are so alike I may well spare some little S3^mpathy for your misfortune." "Thank you, my good 3'oung lad3''; well, then, while 3^ou were pra34ng to the Virgin, I was saying a word or two for my part to her who is no more."

"Ah!" " Oh, it was nothing beautiful like the things 3'-ou said to the other. Can I turn phrases ? no I saw her behind her counter in the Rue Quincampoix for she is a woman of the people is my mother. I saw m3-self come to the other side of the counter, and I said, 'Look here, mother, here is the devil to pa3'" about this new !

:





"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

122

Here is the old woman talks of we take lier from her home, and the young one weeps and prays to all the samts in Paradise. What shall we do eh ? Then my old woman said to me, Jean, you are a soldier, a sort of vagabond, though not by my will. But, at What do you least, be what j^ou are want with a house in France ? j^ou who are always in a tent in Italy or Austria, Have you the or who knows where ?

house. dying-

if

'

*

!

courage to give honest folk so much pain for a caprice ? your fiae chateau isn't worth it, my lad, it is I who tell you so. Come now,' says she, *the lady is of my age, say you, and I can't keep your fine house, because God has willed it otherwise so give her my place so then 3'ou can fancy it is me you have set down at your hearth that will warm your heart up a bit, little scamp, go to,' said my old woman, in her rough way. She was not :

:

:

well-bred

woman

A

you, mademoiselle. the people Rue Quincam-

like

of

poix." " She was a

woman

God's

of

own

making," cried Josephine, the tears now running down her cheeks. " That she was so between her and me it is settled what are you cr^angfor now ? why, you have won the day: the field is yours: your mother and you He whipped his remain. I decamp." scabbard up with his left hand and was !



probably for years, perhaps forever, Josephine had not stopped him. ''But, monsieur, what am I to think? what am I to hope ? it is impossible that in this short interview and we must not You have forget what is due to you. bought the estate." " True well, we will talk of that tomorrow: the house to-day that was the bayonet thrust to the old woman." " ''Ah yes but, monsieur " Silence in the ranks " cried he sharply "mind, I am more used to command off if



!



!

!

!

!

;

than listen in this district " "Monsieur, I will obey you," said Josephine, a little fluttered. Raynal checked her alarm. " The order is, that you run in and put the old !

lady's heart at rest.

Tell her that she

may in

and

Jean Ra3"nal her about the old woman Quincampoix : onh'^ put it in

live

above

die here for

all, tell

Rue own charming "Heaven forbid the

3"0ur

!

Monsieur Raynal

phrases, you know." I go.

God

bless you.

!

"Are you going?"

said

peremp-

he,

torily.

" Oh, yes chateau.

!

" and she darted toward the

Now, when she had taken three steps, she paused, and seemed irresolute. She turned, and in a moment she had glided to Raynal again and had taken his hand before he could hinder her, and pressed two velvet lips on it, and was away again, her cheeks scarlet at what she had done, and her w^et eyes beaming with joy. She skimmed the grass like a lapwing 3'ou would have taken her at this moment for Laure, or for Virgil's Camilla at the gate she turned an instant and clasped her hands together, to show Raynal she blessed him again, then darted into the house. "Aha my gaillarde," said he, as he watched her fly, "behold you changed He was a little since you came out." soon on the high road marching" down to the town at a great rate, his sword clanking, and thus ran his thoughts " This does one good you are right,



:

!

:



woman. My bosom feels as warm Long live the five-franc And they pretend money cannot pieces It is make a fellow happy. They lie that thej'' don't know how to spend it one o'clock a whole Good Heavens

my

old

as a toast. !

!

I

!

!

morning- gone talking-."

Meantime at the chateau, as still beemergencies and trials, the master spirit came out and took its real place. Laure was now the mistress of Beaurefalls in

paire.

She set Jacintha, and Dard, and the doctor, to pack up everything of value in the house. " Do it this moment," she cried "once ;

that notarj^ gets possession of the house it will be too late." " But have we the right ? " asked St.

Aubin.

— WHITE ''Do it,"

was the sharp

and helplessness. away house and lands shall not follow them."

reply.

"Enoug-h

We have fooled,

of folly

:

our movables

Having- set the others to work, she •wrote a hasty line to Riviere to tell him the chateau and lands were sold, and with this letter she ran herself to Bigot's auherge, the nearest post-office, and then she ran back to comfort her mother. The baroness was seated in her armchair, moaning- and wringing her hands, and Laure was nursing and soothing her, and bathing her temples with her last drop of eau de Cologne, and tr3ang' in vain to put some of her own courage into her, when in came Josephine radiant with happiness, crying, " Joy joy joy " and told her strange tale much as I have told it, with this exception, that she related her own share in it briefly and coldly, and was more eloquent than I about the strange soldier's goodness, and the interest her mother had awakened in his heart. And she told about the old woman in the Rue Quincampoix, her rugged phrases, and her noble, tender heart and she ascribed all to the Virgin. '' Heaven is on our side, my mother. Courage, my mother " Tlie baroness, deaf to Laure, brightened up directly at Josephine's news, and her g'lowing face, as she knelt before her mother, pouring the good news, and hope, and comfort, point-blank into her face, as well as her heart. But Laure chilled !

!

!

:

!

them

both. is

We



!

123

"we need depend on no one. Josephine and I have youth and spirit, and you have money." "We have no money. We are beg"

gars

!

"We have a hundred thousand francs!" "A hundred thousand francs ? Are you mad

?

"

" No, mamma our debts were two hundred and twenty-five thousand francs. But the estate, owing to the increase of the rents, has sold for two hundred and ninet3'-flve thousand francs." "How can you know what it sold :

for?" " Edouard's letter told us his notary would not let it go for less. Seventy thousand francs, therefore, of the purchase

money is ours. And we have movables worth thirty thousand francs. With a portion of this money, if you will permit me, I will take a farm. By-the-bj^ there are one thousand francs in the house, too."

"A farm

" shrieked the baroness. " Edouard's uncle has a farm, and we have had recourse to him for help." "Ah behold the key of the enigma," " It is the said the baroness satirically. !

!

child's lover all this

who has been speaking

time, not herself.

to us

A farmhouse

!

grave " "Better a farmhouse than an alms-

I prefer the

!

house," cried Laure, "though that almshouse were palace instead of chateau " Josephine winced, and held up her hand !

deprecatingly.

a generous offer," said she; *' but one we cannot accept." "Not accept it," cried the baroness, with dismay. ** cannot live under so g-reat an obligation. Is all the g-enerosity to be on the side of this Bonapartist ? we are then noble in name on\y. What would our father have said to such a proposal?" Josephine hung her head. The baroness groaned. " No my mother, let house and land go, but honor and true nobility remain." "What shall I do ? you are cruel to me, my daughter." "Mamma," cried the enthusiastic girl. **It

LIES.

The baroness paled stroke of daughter.

:

it

was a

terrible

language to come from her

She said sternly " There is no answer to that. We were born nobles, let us die farmers onl}^ permit me to die the first." " Forgive me, m3^ mother," said Laure, " I was wrong it is for me kneeling. ;

to obey 3'ou

— not



to dictate.

I speak no more." And, after kissing her mother and Josephine, she crept humbly away. " The moment they have a lover he detaches their hearts from their poor old mother. She is not to me now what

my

Josephine is."

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

124 ''

Mamma,

she

is

my

superior.

I see it

She is proud: She looks at both sides.

more and more every da3^ she

is

just.

Your poor

Josepliine

too apt to see

is

"

only those she loves "And that is the daughter for me " cried the baroness, opening her arms !

!

wide to her. Josephine nestled to her, and soothed her all day, and kept telling her Heaven was on their side, and she should never have to leave Beaurepaire. '•'Let me temporize," thought Josephine, " and keep her happy: that is the first consideration."

The next morning when they were at breakfast, in came Jacintha to say the officer was in the dining-room, and wanted to speak with the young lady he talked to yesterday. Josephine rose and went to him.

"Well, mademoiselle," said he, gayly, " the old woman was right. Here I have just got

my

orders to march

:

to leave

France in a month. A pretty business it would have been if I had turned your mother out. So you see there is nothing to hinder j^ou from living here." " In 3^our house, monsieur ? ** Why not ? Are you too proud ? " '^ Forgive us It is a fault that should *•'

!

not survive our fortunes." "Well, but yesterda3^" " I have reflected. I was unjust." "If such an offer was made to my mother, instead of yours, I should not be too proud to take it; but it seems you belong to the nobility. Now I rose from the ranks; so I have no right to be proud."



Raynal said this inadvertently, and in good faith. But the quicker Josephine read it satirically and ironically. She "Forgive me, It

was as

sir, if

far

from

I

have offended

my intention

as

from your merit." There was a pause. " Oh, your delicac}^ does not surprise

me

can understand sure j'^ou can."

neither.

want

"Some

I

it."

" I am Another pause. " Confound it," roared Raynal, angrily,

?

I

it."

other would have bought

some one more

it,

severe, less considerate,

than you, monsieur.

I

beg you

to be-

lieve that it is

a great comfort to us not to be removed with an unkind hand from so beloved a place." There was another silence. Raynal was

He

puzzled.

sentineled Brittan^^ as reprea bad map that hung on the wall. Josephine eyed him furtivel^'^, in secret anxiety, as he marched to and

sented

b}^

fro.

All this time she had been saying what she felt she ought to say, in hopes that the man would do his part, and poohpooh her, and carry out his scheme for her good in spite of her teeth her tongue, rather. For to decline the thing wx want, and so not only get it but have it forced upon us ; the advantage of having it plus the credit of refusing it, is



delicious

:

is it

worth risking

dames

not, all

mesdames for

:

is

and wxll mes-

?

not,

it

?



Now

Rajnal was a man a creature not accustomed to disguise its wishes, and therefore apt to misinterpret such as do above all, he was an honest man. word from him was a thing, the exact thing he meant. So he took for granted Josephine was saying exactly what she meant, and she nonplussed him. When she saw her success, she wished she had declined more faintly, and the interview was to recommence. Had it recommenced, she w^ould have done just the same over again it w-as not Luckily in her blood to do any other. Raynal's brown study resulted in a fresh :

A

:

idea. it," said he; "this must be a third part^^ a mutual friend, some one more skillful than I, and who can arrange this trifle so as not to shock I am no diplomatist." 3^our delicacy. Rajmal interrupted himself by suddenly opening a window and shouting "Halloa come here you are wanted." " What Josephine almost screamed

"I have

settled

colored up.

you.

" why did I go and buy the house didn't

b}'-

:

!



:

are

j^ou

doing,

monsieur;

that

enemy, our bitterest enemy.

is

He

our only

"

WHITE sold you the estate to spite us, not for he had we the love of you. I had It was not our mortified his vanity.



— he



a viper. Oh, sir, pra^'^ he on your g-uard against his counsels." These words, spoken with g-reat fire and earnestness, carried conviction, and, when the notary came in, the contrast between the mvitation that broug-ht him and the reception that met him twenty seconds after was droll. Perrin started at sig-ht of Josephine, and Raynal hardly knew what to say to him. While he hesitated, the notary, fault

little

gan

is

what had occurred,

suspecting-

:

^*So you have taken possession, monTliese military men are prompt, thej'"

not, mademoiselle

?

"

"Do not speak to me, monsieur," said Josephine, quietly. not ? ought to entertain our guests." " Mademoiselle is at home," said Raj'nal sternly; "address her with respect, or she will perhaps order you out." "She is very capable, monsieur," said the notary, " but luckily she has no one to order." " Don't be too sure of that," said '•'

Why

We

Raynal. The notary looked round uneasily, expecting to see j'^oung Riviere. He turned the conversation.

"Mademoiselle," said he, in a mere tone of business, " it is m^^ duty, as M. Raynal's agent, to inform you that whatever movables you have removed are yours ; those that we find in the house upon entering are ours " and he grinned. " And as we are not going to enter for a jweek or two, if at all, j'ou will have plenty of time to shift your chairs and tables," explained Ra\mal. "Monsieur," said the notary, "really I do not understand you. Have I done anything to merit this ? Have I served you so ill that you withdraw your confidence from me ? " ;

"No,"

said Raynal,

your powers, my lad. obey." " So be it, monsieur.

"but you exceed I

command —^you

125

and what on earth

orders,

ing of

all this ?

the mean-

is

"

" The meaning is this. I want madeand her family to stay here while I go to Egj'pt with the First Consul. Mademoiselle makes difficulties it offends her delicacy." moiselle



" Comedie!" "

Though her mother's her staying here." " Comedie ! " " Her pride

is like

life

depends on

much

to be too

for

her affection."

"Farce!" "I pitched upon you

be-

sieur.

are

LIES.

to reconcile the

two." " Then you pitched upon the wrong man," said Perrin, bluntly. He added obsequiously, " I am too much your friend."

Raynal frowned. " I will never abet you in such a sin. She has been talking you over, no doubt j but you have a friend, an Ul3'sses, who is deaf to the siren's voice. I will be no party to such a transaction. co-operate to humbug him of his rights."

"Then be

I will

friend

not

and rob

that's a good soul, a more accommodating

off,

me

and send

my

notary."

"A

more accommodating notary!"

screamed Perrin, stung to madness by " There is not a more this reproach. accommodating notary in Europe. Ungrateful

man

my

my

zeal,

!

is

this the return for all

integrity,

my

unselfishness

?

another agent in the world who would have let such a bargain as Beaurepaire fall into your hands ? Oh it serves Is there

!

me

right for deviating from the rules

of business.

oh

me

Send

another agent—

" !

!

!

!

The honest

soldier

law3'er's eloquence

was

confused.

overpowered him.

The

He

Josephine saw his simplicity, and made a cut with a woman's twoedged sword. felt guilty.

"Monsieur," said

she, coldly,

"do you

not see it is an afl'air of money ? This is a way of saying, pay me double the usual

charge " And !

What

are your

I'll

pay him double

!

" cried

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

126

" don't be Raynal, catching* the idea alarmed, I'll pay you handsomely." '* And my zeal my devotion ? "

where

;



"Put 'em in figures, my lad." ?" *' And m^'^ prob — *' Add it up!" ** And my integ — ? " " Add them all together— and

" Well,

him a

"Well,

don't

I



No

!

"

!



"

there

!

again "'

sun danced in her friend

"

Know him

!

he

is

officer

:

out

am so g"lad. Would it be derogatory on the part of monsieur to admit one so young and in a subordinate posi!

?

Laure

—oh,

3'es, I

de-

Are you mad, m.y poor Josephine

?

"

mamma

No,

!

"That

"A

"

it is!" promise made to your Josephine " witnesses ?

before these

" Ah, bah culties

I declined,

:

!

and out." " Ah I

tion

!

He is very young," demurred the baroness, "but you know more of him than I do." " I know this, that he will not let you " be turned out of Beaurepaire " Then I shall love him well." " Is that a promise, my mother ? "

Riviere."

my best

gone."

"



—Edouard

me

on that behold

!

sation.

!

!

Riviere



then he proposed to and he tried Monsieur Perrin. The man arrived just in time to reveal his nature, and be dismissed with ignominy." General exultation. " Then he was so good as to let me choose a referee, and I chose Edouard Riviere." This announcement caused a great sen''

has proved a pig, it is your turn. Choose you a friend." "We have but one fit, and he is so Ah how stupid I am. You young. Monsieur is doubtless the know him commandant of whom I once heard him his speak with so much admiration is

'

refer all this to a third person,

eye.

name

!

cried the baroness, in dismay.

must not think I know nothing"." " I would have forg"iven you, monsieur," said Josephine, with tender benignity, and

my

Cour-age

clined firmly."

!

mademoiselle, since

*

" !

!



"Now,

'

Josephine came into the saloon radiant. " Well well " was the cry. " Mamma, he offered us the house

!

little

!

" Good

frightened me, monsieur," said Josephine, suddenly assuming- a small reproachful air. " I was afraid you would beat him." "No no a good soldier never leathers a civilian if he can possibly help it it You looks so bad and before a lady

something" like a

'

Clink, clank, clank, clink, clatter, clatter, clank.

!

:

will

of us

" Courage " How good he is,

"You

!

send

only just six times as loud and

!

heart.y,



!

I will

and we

!

" Yes

monsieur. I never cry hardly. he he " I hid my face because

Haw haw

home.

will confer,

!

ing." !

going"

We

dead yet, nor like to be, and, mademoiselle, let me hear you say courage ? " "' Courag"e "

he marched at him. The notary scuttled out, with something- between a snarl and a squeak. Josephine hid her face in her hands. " What is the matter with you ? CryWell, it is you for crying" again?

" Me

am

" Say we are none

And

•"

I

note.

'



you go, or must

will

have given the young

arrange this mighty affair. My general would settle a king"dom in the time we take. Meantime, tell the old lady to pluck up spirit. My mother used to say, A faint heart makes its own troubles.' " " Oh, what a wise saying "

!

I

for I

?

" lie is at a farmhouse near Rennes, at his uncle's."

bother me." " I see my poor soldier. You I see are no match for a woman's tongue." " Nor a notary's Go to h , and send in your bill," roared the soldier in a inry. !

he

is

dog" leave of absence."

:

it

!

It is

is

you.

not I

who makes

Riviere be

it.

"A

diffi-

But

[

promise made to

said she

;

my

Josephine,"

and she looked at Laure.

'

WHITE That youn^ lady kept her eyes stead-

down on her work.

ily

LIES.

127

" HoAv can

be broken ? it does not I touch it." " It will hurt I know all about it. I fell off a broke mine fifteen years ago haystack." " Oh, how unfortunate I am But I will go to Beaurepaire all the same. I can have it mended there as well as it

hurt, except

when :

The notary went home gnashingwhole

His

teeth.

wormwood

turned to

success

of

life

this

day.

commissions rang-

nal's parting-

his

was Ray-

in

his

the want of orders disthe two logical sequence in

ear

mood

bitter

his

in

:

bill the very next morning, and postponed the other commission till his dying day.

Edouard Riviere was with evening

on to at

his

the

sta^^

uncle's.

diflQculty

of

the

Sorrow

for

rest

and mortification at his own defeat weighed him down. He shook hands with his uncle, and flung himself recklessly on his horse the horse, being rather fresh, bolted off with him as soon as he touched the saddle. Some fool had left a wheelbarrow on and just as Edouard was gethis road his friends

:

;

ting his foot into the off stirrup the horse shied violently, and threw Edouard on the stones of the courtj^ard. He jumped up in a moment and laughed at Marthe's terror; meantime a farm-servant caught the nag and brought him back to his work.

When Edouard went

to put his

hand

on the saddle he found it would not obey him. '*Wait a minute my arm is be-



numbed."

me see!" said the farmer, him"benumbed? yes; and no wonder,

''Let self;

poor boy.

Jacques, get on his horse and

ride for the surgeon

" Are

"I

" I

mad, uncle

3^ou

can't spare

?

" cried Edouard.

my

horse, and I want no will be well directly."

surgeon it " It will be worse before my poor lad." :

*'

it

1 don't

is

rub

it

is better,

know what you mean, uncle it hurts when I :

only numbed, ah

!

it."

It is

:

'

it

looked

will

I

at

it

in

piteous

bewilderment.

go to bed: that

will

is

where

go."

" I'll go to blazes sooner." The old man made a signal to his myrmidons whom Marthe's exclamation had brought around, and four stout fellows took hold of Edouard by the legs and the left shoulder, and carried him upstairs raging and kicking, and deposited him on a bed.

He began to feel faint, and that made him more reasonable. They cut his coat off, and put him in a loose wrapper, and after a considerable delay the surgeon came and set his arm skillfully, and behold this ardent spirit caged. He chafed and fretted and retarded his he was so peevish and cure. And oh fortitude, he did not Passive fretful. !

know what it meant. It was two days after his accident. He was lying on his back environed by slops, cursing his evil fate,

and fretting

his soul out of its fleshly prison,

when

suddenh' he heard a cheerful trombone saying three words to Marthe, then came a clink clank, and Marthe ushered into the sick-room the Commandant Raynal. The sick man raised himself in bed, with great surprise and joy. " Oh, commandant, this is kind to come and see your poor officer in hell " " Ah " cried Raj^nal, " you see I know !

!

what it is. I have been chained down by the arm and the leg, and all it is tire-



some." " Tiresome it is it is oh, dear commandant. Heaven bless you for coming !" " La la la Besides I am come on



!

!

!

worse than numbed, Edouard is broken "Broken, uncle? nonsense;" and he

*'

here."

you

inverted them. sent in a thundering

prevailed

!

"You

gusted him.

He He

:

!

business." "All the better.

—that

is

what

own heart."



kills

I

have nothing to do

me—^but

to eat

my

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE. " Cannibal, go to. Well, my lad, since you are in that humor, cheer up, for I bring- you a job, and a tough one it has puzzled me."



*'

What

is it,

commandant

?

What

is

it?" *'

Well.

Do you know a house and a

Beaurepaire? " **Do I know Beaurepaire ? "

famil}^ called

But first they all sat down and wrote kind and pitying and soothing letters to Edouard. Need I say these letters fell upon him like balm ? Next week Raynal called on the baroness. She received him alone. The\'' talked about Madame Ra^mal. The next day he dined with the whole party, and the commandant's manners were the opposite of what the baroness had inculcated. But she had a strong prejudice lodgings.

in his favor.

other

waj'-,

shocked her.

Had

her feelings been the would have

his brusquerie It

amused

her.

people's

If

hearts are with you, that for their heads In common with them all, she admired his frank and manly sincerity. He came every day for a week, chatted with the baroness, walked with the young ladies, and when, after work, he came over in the evening, Laure used to cross-examine him and out came such descriptions of battles and sieges, such heroism and such simplicitj^ mixed, as made the evening On these occasions pass delightfull3\ the young ladies fixed their glowing eyes on him, and drank in his character as well as his narrative, in which were fewer ''I's" than in anything of the sort 3^ou ever read. Thus they made acquaintance and learned to know and esteem him. '^ Tell Josephine said to her mother me, mamma, are there many such men !

CHAPTER

XIX.

"A LETTER for mademoiselle." "Ah!" " No, not for you, Mademoiselle Laure, for mademoiselle."

" Mademoiselle : Before I could find to write to our referee, news came in that he had just broken his arm, so time

J—"



oh dear our poor Edouard " And if poor Edouard had seen the pale faces, and heard the faltering accents, ifc would have reconciled him to his broken arm almost. This hand grenade the commandant had dropped so coollj'' among them, it was a long while ere they could recover from it enough to read *'0h

!

!

!

the rest of the letter

" so I rode over to him, and found him on his hack, fretting for want of something to do. I told him the whole story. He undertook the business. I have received his secret instructions, and next week shall be at his quarters to clear off his arrears of business, and make acquaintance with all your famRaynal." ily, if they permit.

As

the latter part of this letter seemed to require a reply, the baroness wrote a polite note, and Jacintha sent Dard to leave it for the commandant at Riviere's

;

:

world ? " "He is charming," replied the old lady,

in the

somewhat vague]3^

"He is a man of crystal: he never says a word he does not mean." "Why, Josephine " said Laure, "have you not observed he alvvaj'S means more than he says, and does more ?" "I wish I was like him," sighed Jo!

sephine.

"No,

I

thank you," said the baroness,

"he is a man: a thorough man. He would make an intolerable woman. A fine life if one had a parcel of women hastily,

about one all blurting out their real minds every moment, and never smoothing matters." " Mamma, what a horrid picture " I

cried Laure.



" :

WHITE ''Josephine," said the baroness, "you " are the favorite, I think ? " Oh, no mamma, you are the favor!

you know." /* Well perhaps

ite,

I am," and she smiled. **But he has already opened the subject with you, never with me." Jacintha came in and interrupted the " Mademoiselle, the comconversation mandant is in the Pleasance." :

:

*'Well?" He would be g-lad to speak to you." ''I will come." " How droll he is! " said Laure; " fancy ''

his sending- for a j'oung- lady like that: he is like

nobody

how he would ''

My

than

if

else.

dear, I no I

Don't

g-o,

Josephine

:

stare."

was one

more dare disobey him

of his soldiers."

go to your commanding' officer." " He comes apropos. I was just g'oing' to tell you to ask him what Edouard has proposed about Beaurepaire." " I will try, mamma. But, indeed, I hope he will speak first, for what else can he want me for?" After the first salutation, there was a certain hesitation about Raynal which Josephine had never seen a trace of in him before. So to put him at his ease, and at the same time please her mother, she beg-an " Monsieur, has our friend Edouard been able to sugg-est anything-? "

" What, don't you know that I have all along" upon his instruc-

been acting tions ? "

!

!



were secret instructions." " And do you mean to obey them ? " " To the letter I have obeyed one set, and now I come to the other, and there is !

the difficulty." "But is not this inverting the order of things for j-ou to obey that boy ? " " man is no soldier unless he can obey as well as command, and in every-

A

somebody must command.

very shrewd

and in

in these matters, that

my only fear is that

carrying- out (I)

his

of g-ood-will,

He

is

boy

;

I shall fall short

orders

— not

from

'5

but of

skill

and

ex-

perience."

Josephine looked thoroug-hly mystified. " You see, mademoiselle, it is a kind of warfare I know nothing- about." " It must be savag-e warfare then ? "

" No

I don't know how to the devils, I am afraid and he stared with surprise at himself. " That must be a new sensation to you, monsieur I think I understand you 3'^ou fear a repulse, you meditate some act of sing-ular delicacy ? " " No rather the reverse " beg-in

:

!

not.

it is

by

all

!

!

!

!

" Of generosity, then

"No, by

St.

why

?

"

Denis! Confound the he not here to help

is

me?" "But after all you have only to carry out his instructions." " That is true that is true but when one is a coward, a poltroon." This repeated assertion of cowardice on the part of the living- Damascus blade that stood bolt upright before her struck Josephine as so funnj^ that she laughed merril3\ '• Fancy it is only a fort you are attacking- instead of the terrible me !

!



he! he!"

"Thank you," cried Raynal warmly, " you are very g-ood to put in an encourag-ing word like that " and the soldier rallied visibly. " Allons ! " he cried, " it is only a fort mademoiselle " " Monsieur " !



!

!

"

No, indeed and you have not told us what he advised " "Told you? why, of course not they

thing-

want

129

young- dog-,

''Well,

".

LIES.

Hum

!

will

you lend

me your hand a

moment ? " "



My

hand, what for ? there," and she out an inch a minute. He took hold of it. " charming- hand the hand of a virtuous woman?" "Yes!" said Josephine, as cool as a cucumber, too sublimely and absurdly innocent even to blush.

put

it

A

!

" Is it 3'^our own ? " " Monsieur " she blushed at !



that, I

can tell you. " Because, if it was, I would ask you " to g-ive it me. I've done it Josephine whipped it off his palm, where it lay like cream spilled on a table. Ekadk— Vou VL !

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

130

" Ah I see, you are not free yo\i have a lover ? " " No no " cried Josephine, in dis"1 love nobody but my mother and tress, I

:

!

!

my sister I never shall." " Ah your mother that reminds me. He told me to ask her by Jove, I think he told me to ask her first ; " and he up :

'

:

with his scabbard and ran off. Josephine beg-ged him not to. **I can save you the trouble," said she.

" Oh, I don't mind a instructions

!

my

little

instructions

trouble. !

" and

he ran into the house. Laure came out the next moment, for the soldier had demanded a tete-a-tete abruptly.

She saw her sister walking" pensively, and ran to her. " " Oh, Laure, he has " Heaven forbid " " It is not his fault it is your Edouard who set him to do it." '*My Edouard? Don't talk in that I have no Edouard. horrid way You !

!

!

!

!

;

;

said *no,' of course."

" Something" of the kind." Something" of the kind What, did you not say ' no plump ? " I did not sa}'- it brutally, dear." "Josephine, you frighten me. I know you can't say 'no' to any one; and if you don't say 'no plump to such a man as this, 3'ou might as well say * yes.' " "Indeed I said nothing that could be *'

"With

'

'

construed into consent." This did not quite satisfy Laure, and she dilated on the advantages of a plump "negative," and half scolded Josephine " for not having learned to say " no

plump to anybody. "Well, love," said Josephine, "our mother will relieve me of all this. What a comfort to have a mother " "Oh, yes, but why lean on her? You are always for leaning" on somebody." " What, may not I lean on my own mother?" "No; learn to lean on nobody but me." Raynal came out of the house, and walked up to the sisters. !



all

my heart,"

"Monsieur,"

said Josephine.

Laure, before he could speak, " even if she had not declined, we could not consent so yo\i said



see."

"I have no instructions to ask your consent," said Raynal, bruskly. Laure colored high. "Is her own consent to be dispensed with too ? She declined the honor, did she not?" " Of course she did ; but my instructions are, not to take the first two or three refusals." " Oh, Josephine, it is that insolent boy who sets bim on " !

" Insolent boy " cried Raynal, angrily; " why, it is the referee of your own choosing", and as well-behaved a lad as ever I saw, and a zealous officer." "yiy friends," put in Josephine, with a sweet languor, " I cannot let you quar!

about a straw." It is not a straw," said Raj^nal, "it

rel

"

!

'•'

'

;

!

!

My

Laure seized Josephine, and held her and cast hostile glances. " Now, hold your tongue, Josephine " you can't say no plump leave it to me." tight,

is

3'ou."

" The distinction involves a compliment. Laure, you who are so shrewd, is it possible you do not see Monsieur Raynal's strange proposal in its true light

?

This generous man has no personal feeling in this eccentric proceeding" he wishes to make us all happ^'', especially my mother, without seeming to lay us under too great an obligation. Surely good nature was never carried so far before. Ah monsieur, I will encumber you with my friendship forever, if you permit me, but further than that I will not abuse your generosity." "Now look here, mademoiselle," began Ra^mal, bluntly, " I did start with ag"ood motive at first, that I confess. But since I have been every day in your company, and seen how good and kind you are to and all about 3'ou, I have turned selfish I say to m3'self, what a comfort such a Why, wife as you would be to a soldier only to have yoxx to write letters home to :

!

;

!

"

"

WHITE would be worth half a fellow's pay. Do you know sometimes when I see the fellows writing their letters it gives me a knock here to think I have no one at all to write to."

"

Ah

So you see I am not so disinterested. Now, mademoiselle, you speak so charmCan't ing'l}'- 1 can't tell what you mean. 'no,' because you say you whether tell could never like me, or whether it is out of delicac\', and you only want pressing-. So I say no more it is a standing- offer. Take a day to consider. Take two if j^ou By the like. I must go to the barracks. goodby, j'-our mother has consented day." He was gone ere the}^ could recover the amazement his last words caused them. "Oh! this must be put an end to at once, Josephine." :





if

possible."

" Will you speak to our mother, or shall

I?" " Oh, you " !

"Coward!" " No, love but 3'ou have always energ}^ and will. I can burst out on great emerbut I cannot always be fightgencies ;

;

ing."

" Oh, m.y

sister,

and

emergency' ? " " Yes I ought to :

don't— I can't." "lean, then." " That is fortunate.

You

one to act.

is

not this a great

one

;

but

I

settle it

with

are the

my

mo-

Wei], where are you going? " "Upstairs, love." "Wretch do you think I will go to our mother without you ? " !

you please."

They entered the room, Laure asking herself in some agitation how she should begin.

To



Beaurepaire, shall I not,

madame, the

commandante ? " Josephine held her mother round the neck, but never spoke. After a silence she held her tighter, and cried a little.

"

What

is it ?

" asked the baroness conbut without showing

fidentially of Laure,

much

concern.

"Mamma mamma !

him

!

she does not love

I

" Love him ? Heaven forbid She would be no daughter of mine if she loved a man at sight. A modest woman loves her husband onl3^" "But she scarcely knows Monsieur Raynal." " She knows more of him than I knew of your father when I married him. She knows his virtues and appreciates them. I have heard her, have I not, !

love

Esteem soon ripens

into love are once fairly married." "My mother, does her silence then Her tears are they tell you nothing? nothing to you ? " " Silly child These are tears that do ?

when they



not scald. The sweet soul weeps because she now for the first time sees she will have to leave her mother. Alas my eldest, it is inevitable. This is Nature's decree. Sooner or later the young birds must leave the parent nest. Mothers are not immortal. While they are here it is their duty to choose good husbands for their daughters. M.v youngest chose for herself I consented. But for my eldest !

You then

will.

"As

am a happy old woman. If 1 had all France to pick from I could not have found a man so worthy of my Josephine. He is brave, he is handsome, he is a rising man, he is a good son, and good sons make good husbands and I shall die at I

!

feel it

ther."

"I

131



!

'^

''Certainly

LIES.



I choose.

best.

We

shall see

—thanks to mj' treasure here."

"Josephine Josephine you sa}'' nothing," cried Laure, in dismay'. " Mon Dieu ! what can I say ? I love my mother and I love 3-ou. You draw !

their surprise they found the bar-

oness walking up and down the room with unusual alacrity. She no sooner caught sight of Josephine than she threw her arms open to her with joyful vivacity and kissed her Avarmly. " My Josephine, it is you who save us.

which chose the

Meantime we stay at Beaurepaire

me

different

ways.

!

I

want you

to

be

both happy."

"Then, must.

My

you will not speak out, I mother, do not deceive your-

if

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

132 self

:

duty alone that keeps her

is

it

match is odious to her." '* Josephine, is Then we are ruined " this match odious to you ? " Not exactly odious, mother but I am silent

:

this

!

;

" There " cried Laure, triumphantly. !

"There!" cried the baroness, in the same breath, triumphantly. "She esteems his character but his person is in other words, she indifferent to her and is a modest girl, and my daughter let me tell you, Laure, that but for the misfortunes of our house, both my daughters would be married as I was, without knowing half as much of their husbands as Josephine knows of this :

:

;

honest,

generous,

filial

gentle-

man." "Gentleman !" " You are right noble,

have said

will not speak Pity me I love her so. If this stranger, whom she does not love, mamma, takes her awa3'^ from us, he will oh "

me.

!

:

I shall die



!

Josephine left her mother and went to console Laure. The baroness lost her temper at this last stroke of opposition. " Now the truth comes out, Laure, this Do not deceive yoursoii is seldshness. " selfishness " Mamma "



!

!

"You

are only waiting to leave me yourself. Yet your elder sister, forsooth, till then." must be kept here for you She added more gently, "let me advise !



you to retire to your own room, and examine your heart fairly." "

I will."

" You will find there is a strong dash of egoism in all this." "If I do—" " You will retract your opposition." "My heart won't let me: but I will despise myself and be silent." And the young ladj'^ who had dried her eyes

the

moment

selfishness walked,

room.

yes,

paire

we

you

My

shall! be patient!

shall

not

leave

Beaure-

!

The baroness colored faintly at these last words of her daughter, and hung her head. Josephine saw that, and darted to her and covered her with kisses. " What have 3'ou been doing to your

four

mother, dears? her pulse is very high." "We had a discussion."

" Then have no more discussions we have tried her too much with our dis:

lateh\

cussions

and

A

little

I foresee

more

of

this

a palpitation of

the heart." I should

:

" Well, then, since she

kill

"Oh,

agitation,

by the heart."

out, I will

!

mother,

very, very indifferent."

brave,

" Yes, my angel " said the latter, " I was harsh. But we are no longer of one mind, and I suppose never shall be again."

she

head

Josephine cast glance at her mother.

was accused erect,

a

of

from the

deprecating

" Oh, let me go to her " cried Laure. " On the contrarj^, do praj'^ let her be quiet. I have sent her to lie down till dinner-time. But you really must adopt a course wilh her, and adhere to it." " We will, we will. What shall we do ? " !

"Let her have her own wa5^ She won't be here so very long that we should thwart her. I repent my share in it my dears, I do not like her s^^mptoms." " Oh, doctor m^'^ dai-ling mother." "Depend upon it, her mind is not at rest. She is not easy yet about Beaurepaire. In her heart she thinks she will be turned adrift upon the world some day, and with as little warning as that Satan of a notary gave her that morning's work has shaken her all to :

!

:

pieces."

Laure sighed, Josephine smiled. The commandant did not come to The evening passed dinner as usual. their hearts were full of unheavily :

certainty.

"We miss our merry, spirited companion," said the baroness, with a grim look at Laure. Both young ladies assented with ludicrous eagerness. That night Laure came and slept with Josephine, and more than once she awoke with a start, and seized Josephine convulsively and held her tight. The commandant did not come for his

!

WHITE answer next day, but in his place a letter to say he was oblig-ed to go to headquarters for two days, but would then return and attack the fort again until it should capitulate. Between the discussion with her mother and the receipt of this letter, Laure had been very sad and Accused of egoism very thoughtful. at first her whole nature rose in arms against the charge; but, after a while, it did from so revered a person, it forced her to serious self-examination.

coming as

The poor girl said to herself Am is a shrewd woman. deceiving myself

Would

?

" Mamma

:

I

after

she be

all

happj'",

and am I standing in the way?" She begged her sister to walk with her in the park, that so they might be safe from I

am

deep perplexity

in

my own

understand

you so calm, and

:

sister.

cold,

I

cannot

Why

while I

are

am

in

tortures of anxiety ? Have you made some resolve and not confided it to 3'our

Laure ? " " No, love. resolution

" Let

—I

scarce capable of a

drift."

me

marry me." But you said no

**

'

" !

'

little

''Why you?"

"He

not,

to persist." if

he goes

—all

energj'-,

:

:

I

'

"

Your

:

:

:

:



!

:

:

:

:

:

have lost your affection." " I will speak to you, Laure, as to an angel." " Then show me the bottom I

you

like

have none either way, and " conscience saj^s marry him a wish

'

!

on pestering

at all hours. I have so little where my heart is unconcerned he seems, too, to have is

:

:

'

" Yes, I said 'no once." " And don't you mean to say it again ? " " What is the use ? you heard him say he would not desist any the more, and I care too

mother's trouble you are the cause that Beaurepaire was sold. Now you can repair that mischief and at the same time make a brave man happy, our benefactor happy.' It is a great temptation: I hardly know why I said ' no at all, surprise perhaps, or to please you, pretty one." Laure groaned. " Are you then worth so little that you would throw yourself away on a man who does not love j^ou ? " "He will love me: I see that." " He does not want you, he is perfectly happy as he is." " Laure, he is not happy he is only stout-hearted and good, and therefore content and he is a character that it would be easy in short, I feel my power here I could make that man happy he has nobod^^ to write to even when he is away poor fellow " " I shall lose my patience, Josephine 3'ou are at your old trick, thinking of everybody but yourself I let j^ou do it in trifles, but 1 love, you too well to permit it when the happiness of j^our whole life is at stake. I must be satisfied on one point or else this marriage shall never take place I will say three words to this Raynal that will end it. I leave you to guess what those words will be." "My poor Laure," replied Josephine, " you will not for, if you do, my mother and Monsieur Raynal will be the sufferers as for me, it gives me pain to refuse him, but I should have no objection whatever to be refused by him." " Oh, this monstrous, this stony indifference there, I threaten no more, I entreat my sister, be frank with me unless :

am

I

put it in other words, then. How will this end ? " *'I hardly know." " Shall you marry Monsieur Raynal, then ? answer me that." " I should not be surprised if he were to

133



interruption. '•'

LIES.

!

conscience saj^s

my

:

:

would

of

your

heart."

How can I do that ? " " What do you mean ? " " I cannot fathom my own heart "

'

marry one man,

loving another? " " God forbid my sister, I love no one I have loved, but now my heart is dead and says nothing and my conscience says, 'You are the cause of all your !

I

" "Josephine " " Yours, love, I can, or our mother's, or Monsieur Raynal's, an3"body's, but not my own. Can you yours ? " !

!



Well swer me

then don't, but just anif CaI'll read you mille Dujardin stood on one side and Monsieur Raynal on the other, and both asked your hand, which would you take ?" '' That will never be. Whose ? Not **

whom

into love,

!

well

this,

!

and

:

Esteem mig-ht ripen but what must contempt end

I despise.

in?" ;

?

The short-lived storm was and Patience began to creep slowly

girl's relief. lulled,

back to her seat in this large heart. *' Accursed be that man's name, and cursed be my tongue, if ever I utter it again in your hearing " cried Laure. " You are wiser than I, and every way better. Oh, Josephine, love, dry your tears. Here he comes look riding across the park." '' Laure," cried Josephine, hastily, ''I leave all to you. Receive Monsieur Raynal, and decline his offer, if you think !

:

" I am satisfied yet one question more and I have done. Suppose Camille should turn out to be not quite what shall I say



WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

134

his

:



—inexcusable."

" All the world should not separate me from him. Why torture me with such a Ah I see O Heaven you question ? I was blind. have heard something. This is why yo\i would save me from this unnatural marriage. You are breaking the good news to me by degrees. There Quick quick let me have it. is no need. I have waited three years. I am sick of waiting. Why don't you speak ? 'Why don't you tell me ? Then I will tell you. He is alive he is well he is coming. It was not he those soldiers saw they were



!

!









;

How

could they tell ? They saw a uniform, but not a face. Perhaps he has been a prisoner, and so could not so far

off.

!

proper. It is you who love me best. My mother would give me up for a house

an estate poor dear " " I would not give you for world."



for

!

all

the

''I know it. I trust all to you. Whatever you decide I will adhere to, upon my honor " ; and she moved toward the house. " Well, but don't go ; stay and hear what I shall say." " Oh, no; the sight of that poor man is intolerable to me now. Let me think of

his virtues."

Laure was

mistress of her She put her head into her hands and thought with all her soul left alone,

sister's fate.

But he is coming you groan ? wh}^ do you ''What shall I do?" That now fell on Laure which has in like turn pale ? ah I see I have once more He I love manner taken by surprise all of us who deceived myself.' I was mad. are not utter fools doubt. is still a traitor to France and me, and I She was positive so long as the decision am wretched forever. Oh, that I were No don't did not rest with her. Easy to be an adoh, that I were dead dead speak to me never mind me this mad- vocate in re incerta hard to be the ness will pass as it has before, and leave judge.* So long as Laure was opposed me a dead thing among the living and she had seen the cons only, but now the so best. Oh, my sister, why did you wake pros came rushing upon her mind. ''What awful power a man has over a me from my dream ? I was drifting so I shall never cure my sister of calmly, so peacefullj^ so dead, and pain- woman the sea of the dead A husband might. No over passion. this fatal less—drifting gratiwaters of living the toward heart tude and duty. I was going to make *Were you ever a member of the Opposition, more than one worthy soul happj^ and satirical and positive? and did an adroit minister, seeing them happy I should have been whom you had badgered overmuch, ever say sud" content and useful what am I now ? and denly to you, with a twinkle in his eye, You are lads, govern the country " ? And on right, my comforted other hearts and died joyful that did your great heart collapse like a pricked and young for God is good He releases bladder? and did your poor little head find out the good and patient from their bur- that it is easy to see and say one side of things

write, could not come.

Why do

now.





!





!





!





;



!

!

;







:

dens "

the hardest thing on earth to balance alternatives EH? three-sided, but

!

With

this, quiet tears

came

to the poor





;

!

WHITE happiness for her unless she is cured of it. Our mother prays for it ^he wishes it. She was indifferent, or not averse, before I was so mad as to disturb her judgment with that rascal, whose name she shall never hear again and she will return to that tranquil state in a day or two. Well, then that she should lose me, and I her, for one she does not love, nor he her How can I decide ? and here he is Heaven guide me " '*Well, little lady," cried the cheerful horn, " and how are j^ou, and how is my mother-in-law that is to be or is not to be, as your sister pleases ? and how is she f have I frightened her away ? There were two petticoats and now there is but one." " Oh, no, monsieur but she left me to



:



!



;

!

answer you." '*A11 the worse for me: lam not to your taste." '' Monsieur, do not say that." "Oh, it is no sacrilege not to like me.

Not one

haw

in fifty does. I forgive

you,

haw

!

we can't all have good taste." But I do like you. Monsieur Raynal." " Then why won't you let me have your !

**

sister?

"

"I have not quite decided that 3'ou shall not have her." '^All the better."

"

I

" Selfish ? I don't know what you mean." " Yes, you do. Oh you don't think what I must feel, I who love my sister as no man can ever love her, I whose heart has been one flesh and one soul with hers all my life. A stranger comes and takes her awaj'^ from me as if she was nothing." *' It is too bad " cried Raynal, good" naturedly as you sa}^ I am a com!

!

;

parative stranger still it is not as if I was going to part j'-ou two." '' Not separate us ? when you take her :



Egypt."

me ? no, it won't be you mark my words, it will be hunting Egyptians and Arabs why, the hot sand would choke her, to begin." " Oh, my good Monsieur Raynal what, " then, you do not tear her from us ? *'No, you don't take my maneuver. I have no familj'. I try for a wife that will throw me in a mother and sister. You out fighting with

fighting

:

:

— !

same as before, of only you must let me make one of you when I am at home. And how often will that be? Besides, I am as likely to be knocked on the head in Egypt as not ; you are worrying yourself for nothing, little lady." Raynal uttered the last topic of consolation in a broad, hearty, hilarious tone, like a trombone thoroughly impregnated with cheerful views of fate. will live altogether the

course

;

''Heaven forbid " cried Laure; "and for I shall pray for you now. Ah monsieur, forgive me " !

it will,

I

!



" Yes, I forgive you stop wiiat am I forgiving you for ? " "What for? why, for not seeing all your worth of course I knew you were an angel, but I had no idea you were a duck. You are just the man for my !

:

She

sister.

for

obey you are all So you see. Then she

likes to

commanding.

:

never thinks of herself any other man but you would impose on her good-nature but you are too generous to do that. So you see. Then she esteems j^ou so highly." " Brief, 3^ou are her plenipotentiary, and you say 'yes.' " " Wh}^ should I saj'- 'no'? 3'ou will

make one another

happj^ some daj'^ ; you are both so good. Any other man but j'^ou would tear her from me ; but you are too just, too kind. Heaven will reward you. No I will. I will give you Josephine ah, my dear brother-in-law, I give you there the most precious thing I have in the world." "Thank you, then. So that is settled. no, it is not quite I forgot I !

:

Hum

!

:

:

have something for you to read an anonymous letter. I got it this morning it says your sister has a lover read :

I shall not take her to Egypt." " Yes, you will you know you will." ** What do you think I am such a brute as to take that delicate creature '*



!

135

:

dare say 3'ou think me very unkind, ver^'' selfish, and you are not the only one who calls me that."

to

LIES.



:

it."

The

letter

ran to this tune

:

a friend

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

136

who had

but

it

is

quent

why

?

He

observed the commandant's freBeaurepaire wrote to warn him ag"ainst traps. Both the young" ladies of Beaurepaire were doubtless at the new proprietor's service to pick and choose from. But for all that each of them had a lover, and, though these lovers had their orders to keep out of the way till monsieur should be hooked, he might be sure that, if he married either, the man of her heart would come on the scene soon after, perhaps be present at the visits at

wedding-.

In sbort,

it

was one

of those poisoned

arrows a coarse vindictive coward can shoot. It

was the

first

anonymous letter Laure

It almost drove her mad seen. on the spot. Raynal was sorry he had let her see it. She turned red and white by turns, and gasped for breath. *' why don't Oh, why am I not a man I wear a sword. I would pass it throug-h The cowardly slave this caitiff's heart. the fiend for who but a fiend could slander an ang-el like my Josephine ? Hooked ? Oh, she will never marry you if she sees this." *'Then don't let her see it, and don't take it to heart like that. I don't trust to the word of a thief, who owns that his story is a thing- he dare not sig-n his name to; at all events I shall not put his word But this is why I put the ag-ainst yours. question to you. I am an honest man, but not a complaisant one. I should not be an easy-g-oing husband like some I see about. I'd have no wasps round my honey. If mj'- wife took a lover I would not lecture the woman what is the use? I'd kill I'd kill the man then and there him in doors or out I'd kill him as I would kill a snake. If she took another I'd send him after the first, and so on till one killed me." *' And serve the wretches right."

had ever

!



!



!



;

;

*'Yes, but, for my own sake, I don't choose to marry a woman that loves any other man. So tell me, come." ** Monsieur, the letter is a wicked I have a slander. I have no lover. young fool that comes and teases me :

no

He is away, but on a sick-bed, poor little

secret.

is

fellow."

" But your

"M.y

sister

?

"

my

sister? ask

mother whether

she has a lover." '•'What for? I ask you. She would not have a lover unknown to you." " I defy her. Well, monsieur, I have not seen her speak three words to any 3^oung man except Monsieur Riviere this three years past." " That is enoug-h ; " and he tore the letter quietly to atoms. Then Laure saw she could afford a little

more candor ** Understand me, I can't speak of what happened when I was a child. But if ever she had a girlish attachment, he has not followed it up, or surely I should have seen something of him all these years."

" Parhleu

them pass

—Oh,

as

for

flirtations, let

a lovely girl does not grow up without one or two whispering some nonsense into her ear. Why, I myself should have flirted often, but I never had the time. Bonaparte gives you time to eat and drink, but not to sleep or flirt, and that reminds me I have fifty miles to ride so good-by, sister-in-law, eh ? " :

;

''Adieu, brother-in-law." Left alone, Laure had some misgivings. She had equivocated with one whose upright, candid nature ought to have protected him but an enemy had accused Josephine ; and it came so natural to " Did he really think I would shield her. expose my own sister?" said she to her:

self,

Was

angrily.

self-discontent

not this anger secret

?

Laure was coming round a little to the match before this brisk interview with Raynal.

His promise not to take Jo-

sephine to Eg3'pt turned the scale. The anonj-^mous letter, too, fired her with anger and resistance. " So we have an

enemy who

to

tries

marrying her Irresolution

hinder

him from

" !

!

!

was no part

of this j^oung

She did not decide blindly in so important a matter; but, her decision once made, she banished oblady's

character.

"

WHITE and misg'ivmg's the time for them was gone hy, they had had their

jections

:

hearing".

She went to Josephine. "Well, love," said Josephine, "have you dismissed him ? "

"No." Josephine smiled feebly. " It is easy to but it is not so easy to say say, ' say no '

:

*no,' especiall}''

when you

feel

you ought

to say ^yes,' and have no wish either

:

wish where you are concerned, and your I

was

hesitated while I

in

doubt but I doubt no longer I have had a long talk with him he has shown me his whole heart he is the best, the noblest of creatures he has no littleness or meanness. Also he is a thorough man I know that by his being the verj^ opposite of a woman in his ways now you are a thorough woman, and you will suit one another to a T. I have decided, my Josephine no more doubts, love no more tears no more disputes we are all of one mind." :

:

I shall have duties I shall do some good in the world. They were all for it but you before." " And now I am stronger for it than

best friend.

:

:

;

:



!

:

"All the better." " Embrace me, I love you sister loved

!

sister as I j^ou.

Oh, never have se-

I

cured your happiness." " Never mind my happiness, think of our mother, think of " Your happiness is before all. It will come not all in a day perhaps, but it will come. So then in one little fortnight my



!

—ah —^you !

marrv Monsieur Ray-

" You have settled

it ?

She

sobbing terribl3\ Laure neck, but said nothing. She too was a woman, and felt those despairing words were the woman's consent to marry him she esteemed but did not love. It was the last despairing cry of love giving up a hopeless struggle. And in fact these were the last words that passed between the sisters. fell

to

It

was

settled.

And now

Jacintha came to tell them it was close upon dinner time. They hastened to dry their tears and wash their red eyes, for fear their mother should see what they had been at, and worr3^ herself.

" Well, mademoiselle, these two conbut what do you say ? for, after all, it is you I am courting, and not them. Have you the courage to venture on a rough soldier like me ? " "Speak, Josephine," said the baroness. For this delicate question was put plump sent

;

before the three ladies.

"Monsieur," said Josephine timidly, " I will be as frank, as straightforward, as you are. I thank you for the honor you do me." Raj^nal looked perplexed. " Mother-in-law ? does that

"

"Yes."

or

What—finally ? "

"Yes."

"But are you sure I can make him as happy as he deserves ? " " Positive." " I think so too ; still—" "It is settled, dear," said Lalire soothingly.

mean yes

no?" "I did

not hear the word *no,' did you ? " " " Not downright no "' Then she means yes.' " " Then I am very much obliged tc '

!

'

'

her." " You have

little

reason to be, mon-

sieur."



" Oh, the comfort of that you me of a weight." "It is settled, love, and by me."

"Then



me!"

nal."

"



:

:

sister

;

any one. It is settled." " Bless you, dear Laure you have saved your sister. Oh, Camille Camille why have you abandoned

:

:

137

way wept on her

except to give pleasure to others." "But I am not such skim-milk," re" I have alwa3''s a strong plied Laure happiness.

LIES.

I

am

at peace.

You

relieve

are

"Yes, he has!" cried the baroness, " and so have you, my beloved child my brave soldier, I would have selected you ;

my

for a son out of all the nation."

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

138

*'And

I

CHAPTER XX.

never saw an old lady, but me for a mother like

one, that suited

you." *'You have but one fault: you never can stay quietly and chat." I have *^That is Bonaparte's fault. got to g-o to him at Paris to-morrow." " So soon ? but 3'ou stay with us this evening I insist on it. I shall be hurt

At Bayonne, a garrison town on the south frontier of France, two sentinels walked lethargically, crossing and recrossing before the governor's house. Suddenly their official drowsiness burst into energy'-; fhej lowered their pieces and crossed them with a clash before the

else."

gateway.

:

And

now

A pale,

grizzl}'-

man,

in rust}'',

I

defaced, dirty, and torn regimentals,

was

to say something to you that I " don't wish those two to hear, mother young ladies," "That is a hint,

walking into the courtyard really as

if it

''All the evening-.

just

want

!

my

said the baroness.

"And with a

a pretty broad one," said Laure,

toss.

The details of this conversation between the baroness and Raynal did not tranbut it left the baroness very spire happy, and at the same time much :

affected.

" He is an angel, my dears," cried she " he thinks of everything. I shall love all brusk people ; and once I held them You are a happ^^ girl, in such aversion. Josephine, and I am a happy old wo:

belonged to him. The battered man did not start back. He stopped and looked down with a smile at the steel barrier the soldiers had improvised for him, then drew himself a little

hand carelessly to his was nearly in two, and gave

up, carried his

cap, which

name of an

officer in the French army. you or I, dressed like a beggar, who years ago had stolen regimentals and worn them down to civil garments, had

the

If

addressed these soldiers with these very

same words, the

ba^'onets would

have

kissed closer, or perhaps the points been

Josephine brightened up at the old lady's joy, then she turned quickly to examine Laure; Laure's face beamed with unaffected happiness. " Ah " said Josephine, complacently. She added, " And what a comfort to be all of one mind." The wedding was fixed for that day

turned against our sacred but rusty perbut there is a freemasonry of the son the light, imperious hand that sword touched that battered cap, and the quiet, clear tone of command told. The soldiers slowly recovered their pieces, but still looked uneasy and doubtThe battered one saw ful in their minds. this, and gave a sort of lofty smile; he turned up his cuffs and showed his wrists,

fortnight.

and drew himself

man."

;

!

The next morning wardrobes were ranThe silk, muslin, and lace of sacked. their prosperous days were looked out g-rave discussions

work

were held over each

of art.

Laure was

active, busy, fussy.

The baroness threw in the weight of her judgment and experience. Josephine smiled whenever either Laure or the baroness looked at

all fixedh"

at

her.

So JoSo glided the peaceful days. sephine drifted toward the haven of wedlock.

:

The

still

higher.

shouldered their pieces sharp, then dropped them simultaneously with a clatter and ring upon the sentinels

pavement. " Pass, captain."

The battered, rusty figure rang the servant came and governor's bell. eyed him with horror and contempt.

A

He gave

his

name, and begged to see

the governor. The servant left him in the hall, and went upstairs to tell his master. At the name the governor reflected, then frowned, then bade his servant reach him down a certain book. He inspected " I thought so any one with him ? " it. :

"

"

WHITE

:

LIES.

139

"No, monsieur the governor. '* Load my pistols, put them on the table, put that book back, show him in,

" Oh, the devil " cried the general. The wounded man put his rusty coat on again, and stood erect and haughty and

and then order a guard to the door." The governor was a stern veteran, with a powerful brow, a shaggy eyebrow, and a piercing eye. He never rose, but leaned his chin on his hand, and his elbow on a table that stood between them, and eyed the newcomer very fixedly and strangel}'. "We did not expect to see you on this side the Pyrenees." ** Nor I myself, governor." " What do you come to me for ? " "A welcome, a suit of regimentals, and money to take me to Paris." "And suppose, instead of that, I turn out a corporal's guard, and bid them " shoot you in the courtyard ? "It would be the drollest thing you

silent.

ever did, all things considered," said the other cooll3% but he looked a little sur-

The governor went

book he had handed and watched him

for the

lately consulted, found the page,

to the rusty officer,

keenly. face,

The blood rushed

and

all

over his

his lip trembled; but his eye

dwelt stern yet sorrowful on the governor.

" I have read your book now read mine." He drew off his coat, and showed his wrists and arms, blue and whaled. " Can you read that, monsieur ? " :

"No!" " All the better for you Spanish fetHe showed a white scar ters, general." on his shoulder. " Can you read that, sir?" :

"Humph?" "This is what I cut out of it," and he handed the governor a little round stone as big and almost as regular as a musketball.

"

Humph

That could hardly have from a French musket." "Can you read this?" and he showed him a long cicatrix on his other arm.

been

!

fired

"Knife, I think," said the governor. are right, monsieur: Spanish knife! Can you read this? "and opening his bosom he showed a raw and bloody wound on his breast.

"You

The general eyed him, and saw his spirit shining through this man. The more he looked the less could the scarecrow veil the hero from his practiced

great

eye.

" There has been some mistake, or else and can't tell a soldier from a '' " Don't say the word, old man, or your heart will bleed." " Humph I must go into this matter



I dote,

!

at once.

and

tell

Be

seated, captain,

me what have you

if

you

please,

been doing

all

these years ? " " Suffering."

the time ? " " Without intermission ! "

" What,

all

"But what

?

suffering

what ?

"Cold, hunger, darkness, wounds, tude, sickness,

prised.

it

!

soli-

despair, prison, all that

man

can suffer." "Impossible; a man would be dead at that rate before this." *• I should have died a dozen times, but for one thing." " Ay what was that ? " "I had promised to live." There was a pause. Then the old man said calmly, " To the facts, young man !

I listen."

An hour had scarce elapsed since the rusty figure was stopped by the sentinels at the gate, when two glittering officers passed out under the same archway, followed by a servant carrying a furred cloak. The sentinels presented arms. The elder of these officers was the governor the younger was the late scarecrow, in a brand-new uniform belonging to the governor's son. He shone out now in his true light the beau ideal of a patrician soldier; one would have said he had been born with a sword by his side and drilled by Nature, so straight and smart yet easy he was in every movement. He was like a falcon, eye and all, onl3% as it were, down at the bottom of the hawk eye seemed to lie a dove's eye. That wonderful compound and varying ;

:

;:;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

140

eye seemed to say: I can love, I can fight I can fight, I can love, as few of 3'ou can

claim to be the one to

do

live."

either.

The old man was trying to persuade him to staj'- at Bayonne until his wound should be cured. " No, general, I have other wounds to cure of longer standing than this one."

"Paris is a long journey for a wounded man." " Say a scratched man, general." ** Well, promise me to stay a month at Paris ? " " General, I Paris."

"

An

hour

at the

call

shall

in

War

stay an hour in

Paris

Well, at least

!

Of0.ce

and present

this

letter."

" I will." That same afternoon, wrapped in the governor's furred cloak, the young officer lay at his full length in the coupe of the diligence, the whole of which the governor had peremptorily demanded for him, and rolled day and night toward Paris.

He reached it worn with fatigue and fevered by his wound, but his spirit as indomitable as ever. He went to the War It Office with the governor's letter. seemed to create some little sensation one functionary came and said a polite word to him, then another. At last, to his infinite surprise, the minister himself sent down word he wished to see him the minister put several questions to him, and seemed interested in him and touched by

"I

think, captain, I shall have to send

where do \o\x stay in Paris ? " ''Nowhere, monsieur I leave Paris as soon as I can find an easy-going horse." " But General Bertaux tells me j^ou are wounded." :



"A little." **

?

is

friends?

it

I

me what

tell her I have kept promised to live, and I

say no more, captain road jom take."

—only

" The road to Brittany." the 3^oung officer was walking his horse by the roadside, about a league and a half from Paris, he heard a clatter behind him, and up galloped an aid-decamp, and drew up alongside, bringing his horse nearly on his haunches. He handed him a large packet sealed with the arms of France. The other tore it open and there was his brevet as colonel. His cheek flushed, and his eye glittered with joy. The aid-de-camp next gave him a parcel. " Your epaulets, colonel hear you are going into the wilds where epaulets don't grow. You are to join the army of the Rhine as soon as your

As

!

We

wound IS well." "Wherever my countrj'- calls me." " Your address, then, colonel, that we may know where to put our finger on a hero when we want one." " I am going to Beaurepaire."

"Ah

!

Beaurepaire

?

I

never heard of

it."

"You never heard of Beaurepaire? Beaurepaire is in Brittany, twenty-five leagues from Paris, twenty-three leagues and a half from here." " Good Health and honor to you, !

colonel."

" The same to you, monsieur

—or

a

The new colonel read the precious document across his horse's mane, and then he was going to put one of the epaulets on his right shoulder, bare at present

;

but

he reflected.

"No; I will not crown mj'^self. She make me a colonel with her own

shall

Pardon me, captain, but

dent

" Her ? tell

I

:

soldier's death."

his relation.

to you

my word

is this

just to yourself

pru-

and your

"

" Yes, monsieur, I owe it to those who perhaps think me dead." "You can write to them." " I grudge so great, so sacred a ]oy to a letter. No after all I have suffered I !

dear hand. I will put them in ray pocket. I will not even look at them till she has seen them. I have no right. Oh, how happy I am, not only to come back to her alive, but to come back to her

honored." His wound smarted, his limbs ached, but no pain, past or present, could lay

:

WHITE In his great joy he hold of his mind. remembered past suffering's and felt present pain and smiled. Only every now and then he pined for



wings. Oh, the weary road He was walking- his horse quietly, drooping a little over his saddle, when another officer well mounted came after him and passed him at a hand gallop with one hasty glance at his uniform, and went tearing on like one riding for !

life.

comrade.

They had been lieutenants

to-

gether. ** It was Raynal," said he, ''only bronzed by service in some hot countr^^ No wonder he did not know me. I must be more changed still. I wish I had hailed the fellow. Perhaps I shall fall in with him again at the next town." He touched his horse with the spur, and cantered gently on, for trotting shook him more than he could bear. Even when he cantered he had to press his hand against his bosom, and often with the motion a bitterer pang than usual came and forced the water from his eyes and then he smiled. His great love and his high courage made this reply to the body's idle an;

And

still

his eyes looked straight

forward as at some object in the distant horizon, while he came gently on, his hand pressed to his bosom, his head drooping now and then, smiling patiently upon the road to Beaurepaire.

CHAPTER XXI. At

141

with her sex. The chairs and tables were covered with dresses, and the floor

was "

littered.

wish you would think more of what you are to wear." " Of course you do," said Laure " but that is selfish of you. You always want to have your own way, and your way is to be thinking of everybody before Josephine but 3'ou shall not have your I

;

;

while I am here, because I am the mistress." " Nobody disputes that, love " *' All the better for them, dear. Now, dear, you reallj'^ must work harder. It only wants five days to the wedding, and " see what oceans we have to do It was three o'clock in the afternoon the baroness had joined her daughters, and was presiding over the rites of vanity, and telling them what she wore at her wedding, under Louis XV., with strict accuracy, and what we men should consider a wonderful effort of memory, when the Commandant Raynal came in like a cannon-ball, without any warning, and stood among them in a stiff military attitude. Exclamations from all the party, and then a kind greeting, especially from the baroness.

own way

!

I know that face ? " said he. He cudgeled his memory, and at last he remembered it was the face of an old

"Don't

guish.

LIES.

Beaurepaire they were making and

altering wedding dresses.

Laure was excited, and even Josephine took a calm interest. Dress never goes for nothing

!

''We have been

so dull without 3'ou,

Jean."

"

And

have missed you once or twice, mother-in-law, I can tell you. Well, mother-in-law, I am afraid I shall vex you, but you must consider we live in a busy To-morrow I start for Egypt " time. '• Oh " cried Laure. I

!

!

"To-morrow !" cried the baroness. Josephine put down her work quietly. " Yes, it is all altered. Bonaparte leaves Paris the day after to-morrow at seven in the morning, and I go with him. I rode back here as fast as I could to spend what little time is left with you." The ladies' eyes all telegraphed one another in turn. " My horse is a good one. If I start to-morrow at noon I shall be at Paris by five in the morning must be with Bonaparte at half past five." The baroness sighed deeply, and the tears came into her eyes.





"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

142

" Just

week, and

now

know and

ten o'clock

;

as we were all beg-inning- to love you." *' Oh you must not be down-hearted, old lady. Why, I am as likely to come back from Egypt as not. It is an even chance, to say the least." This piece of consolation completed the baroness's unhappiness. She really had conceived a g-reat affection for Raynal, and her heart had been set on the wed-

The three

!

ding.

These her motives were mixed and so, by the by, are yours and mine, in nearlj';

we do — good, '* Take away

bad, or indifferent. all that finery, girls," said she, bitterly, '* we shall not want it my friend, I shall not be for years. Ah all

!

j^ou come home from Egypt. never have a son " " What do 3^ou mean ? " said Raynal, a. " It will be A'our own little roughly. fault if j'^ou don't have a son ; it shall not be mine." ''I should rather ask, what do you mean ? You will be my friend and the betrothed of my daughter. But conbut for this contretemps you sider i-eally would have belonged -to me in a few days' time. I should have had the right to put my finger on you and say, ' This is my son,' Alas that name had become dear to me. I never had a son only daughters the best any woman ever had but one is not complete without a son, and I shall never live to have one." Ra3mal looked puzzled. The young ladies were putting" away the wedding

alive

when

I shall

!

;

!



;

to be to-morrow at

it is

that

is

putting-

up

ladies set

it

on, I call."

their throats

together.

''To-morrow?" " To-morrow. Wh}^ what do 30U suppose I

Paris for yesterday

left

left

?

my

duties even."

"What, monsieur?" asked timidly, " did

you

Josephine,

ride all that

way, and me ? "

leave your duties, merel3'^ to marry and she looked a little pleased.

"You are worth a great deal more trouble than that," said Raynal, simply. " Besides, I had passed my word, and I always keep my Avord." " So do I, monsieur," said Josephine, a " I will not go from it little proudl3^ now, if you insist but I confess to you ;

that such a proposal staggers me ; so sudden no preliminaries no time to reflect ; in short, there are so many difficulties that I must request of your courtesy to reconsider." " Difficulties," shouted Rajmal, with merry disdain ; " there are none unless



you ties

sit ? ?



down and make them: ha we do more

ha

!

difficul-

difficult

!

things than this every day of our lives we passed the bridge of Areola in thirteen minutes and we had not the conas we have now, sent of the enemy mademoiselle have we not?" " Monsieur, it seems ungracious in me :

:

:



to raise objections,

so

much

trouble

when

3'ou

have taken

—but—mamma!

" !

" Yes, my daughter m}'^ dear friend, you do us both great honor b\' this empressement ; but I see no possibility things. '' Bonaparte," said there is an etiquette we cannot altogether I hate General there are preliminaries before a defy Laure, viciously. "Hate my general ? " groaned Raynal, daughter of the Baron deBeaurepaire " There used to be all that, madame " looking down with a sort of superstitious awe and wonder at the lovely vixen. laughed Raynal, putting her down good" Hate the best soldier the world ever humoredly, " but it was in the days when armies came out and touched their caps saw ? " ''What do I care for his soldiership. to one another, and went back into winter He has put off our wedding. For how quarters. Then the struggle was who could g-o slowest now the fight is who many years did you say ? " '* can g"o fastest. Time and Bonaparte No he has put it on." " And after me working my finger to wait for nobody and ladies and other the bone put it on what do you mean ?" strong places are taken by storm, not " I mean the wedding was to be in a undermined a foot a month as under :

:



:

!

:

;

:









; :

WHITE let me cut this short mademoiselle, you say as time is short you are a woman of your word, and that if I insist you will give in well, I

"My

Noah Quatorze:

:

:

"

insist!

"In that

case, monsieur, all is said: not resist j^ou." '•'It would be no use," cried Laure, clapping her hands, "the man is irreI shall

sistible."

" You

not resist ? that is all 1 redon't worry yourself don't fancy difficulties don't trouble yourself. quire

will

now

:

:

:

you will not I undertake ever^^tliing have to lift a finger except to sign the marriage contract. As the time is short :

I cut it into rations beforehand the carriages will be here at nine: the^' will whisk us down to the mayor's house by a quarter to ten Picard the notary meets us :

:

there with the marriage contract to save tiuie the contract signed, the mayor will do the marriage at quick step out of respect for me and to save time half an hour quarter past ten breakfast all in the same house an hour and a quarter we mustn't hurrj'- a wedding breakfast then ten minutes or so for the old fogies to waste in making speeches about our :





:

:

virtues, mademoiselle

—3'ours

and mine



ray answer ten seconds my watch will come out my charger will come round I rise from the table embrace my dear



—kiss

mother

old



my

—canter to

wife's



hand

—into

TouEgypt. But I shall leave a Madame Raynal and a mother behind me they will both send me a kind word now and then and I will write letters to you all from Eg3^pt, and when I come home m}-- wife and I will make acquaintance, and we will all be happy together and if I am killed out there don't you go and fret your poor little hearts about it

the saddle lon

—sail to

Paris

roll to

:

;

:

it is

a soldier's

sides,

you

lot,

sooner or later. Behave taken care of

will find I

you my poor women, Jean Ra3mars hand won't let any skulking thief come and turn you out of your quarters, even though Jean Raynal should be dead. I have got to meet Picard at Riviere's on :



that very business I am off." He was gone as bruskly as he came.

Wo

LIES. mother!

sephine, " help

my

me

sister!" cried Jo-

to love this

man."

need no help " cried the bar" not love him oness, with enthusiasm we should all be monsters." Rajmal came to supper, looking bright "

You

!

;

and cheerful. " No more work to-da3^

I have nothing to do but talk, fanc^'' that." There is no time to relate a tithe of what they said to one another; I select the most remarkable thing. Josephine de Beaurepaire, who had been silent and thoughtful, said to Ra^-nal, in a voice scarce above a whisper "Monsieur !" " Mademoiselle " rang the trombone. :

!

"

Am I not to go to Eg^^pt

?

"

"No," was the brusk reply. Josephine drew back, like a sensitive plant. But she returned to the attack. " Nevertheless, monsieur, it seems to me that a wife's duty is to be by her husband's side to look after his comfort to console him when others vex him to soothe him when he is harassed."





" Her

first duty is to obey him." "Certainly." " Well, when I am your husband, I shall bid you stay with your mother and

while I go to Egypt." " As 3'ou please, monsieur." " If I come back from Egypt, and you make the same proposal after we have

sister,

lived together awhile, I shall

jump at the

where you are look at 3'our sister, a word more and we shall raise the waters. I don't think any offer

:

but this time

sta\^

:

the worse of ^''ou for making the offer, mademoiselle." The next da\'' at sharp nine tw^o carriages were at the door. The ladies kept Ra^'nal waiting, and threw out all his serial divisions of time at once. He stamped backward and forward, and twisted his mustaches and swore. This was a new torture to him, to be made unpunctual. Jacintha told them he was in a rage, and that made them nervous

and

flurried,

wildly

and their fingers

among hooks and

sorts of fastenings till

;

half past nine.

stra^'ed

and all they were not ready eyes,

Conscious thej^ de-

"

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

144

served a scolding-, they sent Josephine first. She dawned upon the honest soldier so radiant, so dazzling- in her snowy dress, with her coronet of pearls (an heirloom), and her bridal veil parted, and the flush of conscious beauty on her cheek, that, instead of scolding her, he

down

actually blurted out " Well by St. Denis, !

waiting- half

it

He

lay near the window, revived b^'the and watched the dear little street he had not seen for years watched with great interest to see what faces he could recognize and which were new. The wounded hero felt faint, but happy, very, very happ3\ air,



was worth

an hour for."

He

recovered a quarter of an hour by making- the driver g-allop. Occasional shrieks issued from the carriag-e that The ancient lady held the baroness. She had not anticipated annihilation. come down from a g-alloping- age. They rattled into the town, drew up at the maj^or's house, were received with great ceremony by that functionary and Picard, and entered the house. When their carriages rattled into the little town from the north side, the wounded officer had already entered it from the south, and was riding at a foot's pace along the principal street. The motion of his horse now shook him past endurance. He dismounted at an inn a few doors from the mayor's house, and determined to do the rest of the short journey on foot. The landlord bustled " You are about him obsequiously. you have traveled faint, my officer too far. Let me order you an excellent breakfast." ** No. I want a carriage ; have you :

one?" "

officer, I

have two."

of distinction."

Then I must rest here half an hour, and then proceed on foot." The landlord showed him into a room it had a large window looking on the '•

:

street.

" Give

me

on,

a couple of chairs to

and open the window

:

lie

I feel

faint."

that monsieur wants his break-

" Well. An omelet and a bottle but open the window first." :

contract

Now

of red

was signed and

to the church," cried the bar-

gaj'-ly.

"To the church! What for?" asked Raynal. "' Is not the wedding to take place this morning ? " " ParUeu:'

Picard put

in his

word with a knowing

look.

"

I understand, madame the baroness not aware of the change in the law. People are not married in church nowa-

is

da3'S."

" People are not married in church?" and he seemed to her like one that mocketh. " No. The State marries its citizens now and with reason since marriage ;

contract." "Marriage a civil contract " repeated the baroness. " What, is it then no longer one of the holy Sacraments ? What horrible impiety shall Ave come to next ? Unhappy France Josepliine, such a contract would never be a marriage in my eyes and what would become of a union " the Church had not blessed ? "Madame," said Picard, "the Church can bless it still ; but it is only the mayor

a

civil

!

!

:

here that can do it." " M.J daughter m3' poor daughter All this time Josephine was blushing scarlet, and looking this way and that, with a sort of instinctive desire to fly and hide, no matter where, for a week or so. !

is

fast."

wine

"

oness

is

" Order one out." "But, my officer, unluckily they are both engaged for the day and by people

" It

The marriage

XXII.

witnessed.

;

My

down

CHAPTER

!

:

:

WHITE " Haw

haw

haw "

roared Raynal Wants her daughter to be unlawfully married in a church, instead of lawfully in a house. Give me the will " Picard handed him a document. '' Look here, mother-in-law ; I have left Beaurepaire to my lawful wife." "Otherwise," put in Picard, ''in case of death, it would pass to his heir-at-law." ''And he would turn you all out, and that does not suit me. Now there stands the only man who can make mademoiSo quick march, selle my lawful wife. monsieur the mayor, for time and Bonaparte wait for no man." "Stay a minute, young people," said should soothe respecthe mayor. " table prejudices, not. crush them. Madame, I am at least as old as you and have seen man^^ changes. I perfectly understand your feelings." "Ah, monsieur oh " " Calm yourself, dear madame the case is not so bad as you think. It is perfectly true that in Republican France the civil magistrate alone can bind French citizens in lawful wedlock. But this does not annihilate the religious ceremony. You can ask the Church's blessing on my work and be assured you are not the only one who retains that natural prejudice. Out of every ten couples that I marry, four or five go to church afterward and perform the ancient ceremonies. And they do well. For there before the altar the priest tells them what it is not my business to dilate upon, the grave moral and religious duties they have undertaken along with this civil contract. The State binds, but the Church still blesses, and piously assents *'here

is

!

!

!

a pretty mother.

!

We

:

!

!

;

;

to

that—" dis-

" !

"Monsieur Picard, do

j^ou consider it

polite to interrupt the chief

magistrate of

the place while he is explaining the law to the citizen ? " Picard shut up like a knife. " Ah, monsieur " cried the baroness, " you are a worthy man. Monsieur, have !

you daughters ? " (J)

145

" Ay,

madame

that I love well.

!

I

married one last year." " Did you marry her after this fashion?" ' I married her myself, as I will marry, yours if you will trust me with her." " I will, monsieur you are a father you are a worthj'^ man you inspire me with confidence." '

:

:

"And

have made them one,

after I

nothing to prevent them adjourning to the church." "I beg your pardon," cried Raynal, "there are two things to prevent it: things that wait for no man time and Bonaparte. Come, sir, enough chat to there

is

:

:

work."

The maj'or assented.- He invited Josephine to stand before him. She trembled and wept a little Laure clung to her and wept, and the good mayor married the parties off-hand. "Is that all?" asked the baroness; "it is terribly soon done." :

"It

is

done

effectively,

madame,"

said

the mayor, with a smile. "Permit me to tell you that his Holiness the Pope cannot undo my work." Picard grinned slyly, and whispered something into Raynal's ear. " Oh indeed " said Raynal, aloud !

and

!

" Come,

carelessly.

nal, to breakfast

:

Madame Ray-

follow us."

They paired and followed the bride and bridegroom into the breakfast-room. The light words Picard whispered were just five in number. Those five words contained seven syllables. Now if the mayor had not snubbed Picard just before, he would have uttered those jocose but true words aloud. There was no particular reason wh^^ he should not. And if he had The threads of



the

" From which she has no power to sent

LIES.

web

of

life,

how

subtle thej' are

!

The

cotton of Manchester, the finer meshes of the spider, seem three-inch cables by comparison with those moral finest

gossamers which vulgar ej^es cannot see at all, the "somethings, nothings," on which great fates have hung. It was a cheerful breakfast, thanks to Raynal, who was in high spirits and would not allow a word of regret from any one. Madame Raj^nal sat by his side

!

'

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

146 looking"

up at him every now and then admiration. A merry

with innocent

wedding- breakfast Oh if we could see through the walls of houses Five doors off sat a wounded soldier alone, recruiting- the small remnant of his sore-tried strength, that he mig-ht strugg-le on to Beaurepaire, and lose in one moment years of separation, pain, prison, anguish, martyrdom, in one g-reat g-ush of joy without compare. .



"

!

!

Ah tell me what I can do for my absent friend to show my gratitude my regard — my esteem." " Well, madame—let me think. Well, away.

I

!

saw a

plain gray dress at Beaurepaire." " Yes, monsieur. My gray silk, Laure. '

"Hike

that dress." "Monsieur, the moment I reach home after losing you I shall put it on, and it shall be my constant wear. I see you are right—gray becomes a wife whose husband is not dead, but is absent, and alas in hourly danger."



!

"Now

look at that " cried Raynal to the company. " That is her all over she !

;

CHAPTER

XXIII.

The wedding breakfast was ended. The time was drawing near to part. There was a silence. It was broken by Madame Raynal. " Monsieur," said she, a little timidly, " have 3'ou reflected " On what ? "

?

"

"About taking me to Egypt." " No I have not given it a thought ;

" " Yet, permit me to say that it is my duty to be by your side, my husband " and she colored at this word it was the first time she had ever used it. ''Not when I excuse you." "I would not be an encumbrance to since I said 'no.'

!



you, monsieur I should not be useless. I could add more to his comfort than he gives me credit for, messieurs." Warm assent of the mayor and notary. " I give you credit for being an angel, my wife." He looked up. Laure was trembling, her fork shaking in her poor little hand. She cast a piteous glance at him. "But all the generosity must not be on your side. You shall go with me next time ; that is settled. Let us speak of :

no more." " Monsieur, I submit. At least give me something to do for you while you are

it

can see six meanings where another would see but one. I never thought of that, I swear. I like modest colors, that is all. My mother used to be all for modest wives wearing modest colors." "Count on me, monsieur. Is there nothing more difficult jou will be so good as give me to do ? " "No there is only one order more, and that will be easier still to such a woman as you. I commit to your care, made;





madame, I mean the name of Raynal. It is not so high a name as j^ours, but it is as honest. I am proud moiselle

of it

—I am jealous of

you in Egj^pt for me." for

"

With

my

;

it.

life

!

"

guard it France

I shall

you guard cried

it

in

Josephine,

her eyes and her hand to heaven. Raynal rang the bell and ordered his charger round. The baroness began to cr3\ "The young people may hope to see 3^ou again," said she; "but there are two chances against your poor old mother." " Courage, mother " cried the stout "No, no; you won't play me soldier. such a trick once is enough for that lifting

!



game."

"My brother!" cried Laure, "do not go without kissing 3'our little sister, who loves you and thanks you." He

kissed her.

man!" she cried, " God with her arms round his neck protect 3^ou, and send you back safe "Brave, generous

;

to us

!

— :

WHITE "Amen!"

cried all present, by one the cold notary. even impulse— Raynal's mustache quivered. He kissed Josephine hastily on the brow ; the baroness on both cheeks, shook the men's hands warmlj'- but hastily, and strode out without lookingbehind him. They followed him to the door of the

house. girths.

He was tig-htening- his He flung- himself with

resolution of his steel

horse's all

the

nature into the

saddle, and, with one g-rand

wave

of his

cocked hat to the tearful g-roup, spurred away for Eg-ypt.

he

LIES. strength

g-o

shopping-. ** I must buy Laure a g-ray silk." In doing- this she saw many other tempting- things. I say no more. Meantime the young ladies went up to Beaurepaire in the other carriage, for Josephine wished to avoid the gaze of the town, and get home, and be quiet.

The driver went very fast. He had drank the bride's health at the ma^^or's, item the bridegroom's, the bridesmaid's, the mayor's, etc., etc., and ^' a spur in the head is worth two in the heel," says the proverb. The sisters leaned back on the soft cushions and enjoj'ed the smooth and rapid motion once so familiar to them, so rare of late. Then Laure took her sister gently to task for having offered to go to Egypt. "You forgot me, cruel one." ''No, love, did you not see I dared not look toward you. I love you better than all the world but this was my duty. I was his wife I had no longer a feeble ;

:

and a feeble disinclination to decide between but right on one side, wrong on the other." *' Oh, I know where your ladyship's

inclination



force

is

— in — my

"Yes! Laure," continued Josephine, "duty is a great comfort





it is tangible it is something to lay hold of for life or death a strong tower for the weak but well disposed." " How fast we glide, Josephine it is so nice. I am not above owning I love a carriage ; now lean back with me, and take my hand, and as we glide shut your ej^es and think whisper me all your :





feelings, all, all."

"Laure," said Josephine, half closing her eyes, *^I feel a great calm, a heavenly calm." "I thought you would," murmured Laure.

CHAPTER XXIV. doctor

'my

tlioughtfully,

"My

the

lies:

inclinations."

fate

My

is

decided.

No more

sus-

have a husband I am proud of. There is no perfidy with him, no deceit, no disingenuousness, no shade. He is a human Nothing unmanly either. sun. No one can lean on him. He feebleness will make me a better, truer woman, and I him a happier man. Yes, is it not nice to think that great and strong as he is I can teach him a happiness he knows not as yet ? " And she smiled pense.

The baroness made

147

duties are clear.

I

:

with the sense of her delicate power. "Yes, go on, dear," purred Laure, "I seem to see your pretty little thoughts rising out of your heart like a bubbling fountain go on." " Yes, love, and then, gratitude Laure, I have heard it said, or read it somewhere, that gratitude is a burden I don't understand that sentiment why, to me gratitude is a delight, gratitude It is the warmest of all the is a passion. tender feelings I have for dear Monsieur Raynal. I feel it glow here in my :





bosom." " One word, dear " shall love him ? " Indeed, I do."

:

do

j^ou

think you

"When?" " Oh, long before he comes back."

"Before f" Josephine, her e^^es

still

half closed,

went murmuring on. " His virtues will always be present to me. His little



"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

148

manner will not be in sight. The imag-e of those great Good Raynal

faults of

!

perhaps because I fail in them myself, will be before my mind and ere he comes home I shall qualities I revere

so,

:

love

him

me." "I

am

you

don't

:

think

so

tell

?

sure of

I love

it.

:

heart." *'Yes.

One reason wh}'^ I wished to go home at once was no guess." " To put on your gray silk. Oh, I

— —

know you." Yes,

Raj'nal.

honest I

am

Laure, Yes, I

name than

so calm,

pleased, that

was

it

feel

of

dear good prouder of his :

And

our noble one.

my sister—so my mother's

tranquil

mind

—so at

is

—so

convinced all is for the best contented with my own lot so hap—py." gentle tear stole from beneath her long lashes. Laure looked at her wistThey fully then laid her cheek to hers. leaned back hand in hand, placid and rest



so

A

:

The carriage glided was almost in sight.

fast.

Beaurepaire

officers on foot." After a pause Josephine added "He see;ned to drag himself along." "Oh, did he ? " cried Laure carelessly. " Here we are we are just at home." " I am glad of it," said Josephine, "very glad." :

at home ? No." Josephine turned quickly round. "No window at the back," said she. Laure instantly put her head out at the

we

window.

What

is

I see

it ?

nothing.

What

was it ? " Some one in uniform." "Oh, is that all?" " I saw an epaulet." **0h, an officer! I saw nobod3\

"Presentl}'. Let us walk in the Pleasance a minute first for the air." They walked in the Pleasance. " How you tear along, Josephine Stop, let me look at j'ou What is the !

!

matter?" "Nothing

!

nothing

" !

"There's a fretful tone; and how exyou are, whj^ you burn all over. Well, it's no wonder I thought yoM. were calmer than natural after such an event." " Who could he be, Laure ? " cited

;

"Who?" " That officer. I only saw his back: but did you not see him, Laure ? " "No.''

"Are you

sure you did not see him at

To



!

!

of course not: I don't believe

was one

;

I

am wrong

his cocked hat

comes

:

;

for there

I can see

it

bob

every now and then above the palings." Josephine turned very slowly round and looked she said nothing. "Come, dear," said Laure, "let us go the only cocked hat we care for is on in " the way to Paris :

:

!

"Yes, Laure: let us go in. No can't go in I feel faint I want air



:

I

I

:

I

stay out a little longer Look, They put all Laure, what a shame manner of rubbish into this dear old tree I will have it all turned out " and she looked with feigned interest into the tree but her eyes seemed turned inward. Laure gave a cry of surprise. "Josephine "

shall

!

!

:

!

!

"Why,

!

be sure the road took a turn. Ah you thought it was a message from Raynal." *' Oh, no on foot walking very slowly. Coming this way, too. Coming this way " this way

Coming

" Will you go upstairs and put on your

gown ? "

there

Suddenly Josephine's hand tightened on Laure's, and she sat up in the carriage like a person awakened. **What is it?" asked Laure. *'Are

"



" Not

all?"

silent.

side

!

;

him already. girl. mother selfish My found me I am a But out. I am so much oblig-ed to her. and if I have I am not a wicked g-irl been unkind to him, I will make it up to him. Go on, dear, tell me your whole

''



"Ah, bah it is no such raritj^ there are plenty of soldiers on the road."

;

!

"What? What?" " He is waving his hat on earth does that mean

?

to

"

me

!

What

—"



:

WHITE me!"

you for

''He takes

Jo-

said

sephine. *'

Who

"

is it ?

" It is he ! I knew his figure at a glance " and she blushed and trembled with joy; she darted into the tree and tried to look through the apertures but she could not see at that angle turning round she found Laure at her back, pale !

:

:

and

"

Ah

!

!

!



!

!

Heaven's sake."

"I

can't!

Oh, don't

I must he shall never see me to-day and not know wh3^ he comes here is here myster}^ years some for all these

fear

!

!

:

something terrible is going to happen terrible terrible something terrible Oh go outside let him see you Laure no sooner got round the tree a again than the cocked hat stopped pale face, with eyes whose eager fire shone all that way into the tree, rose up and looked over the palings, and never moved. Josephine's eyes were fixed on it. " I feel something terrible coming something terrible terrible " "Malediction on him, heartless, selfish traitor " cried Laure. " He has deserted you these three 3'ears they have told him you are married so he haunts you directl.y, to destroy your peace. Ah I am glad you are come, wretch, to hear that a better man than you has got her Josephine, you listen I will tell him that you have a husband whom 3'-ou love as you never loved him and that if he dares to show his face here a'ou will laugh at him, and your husband will kill him or kick him. Oh, I'll insult the Idche : I'll insult him as you never saw a man in!

!





!

— !

:



!



!



!

!

!

!

:

:

!

:

:

;

sulted yet."

"No, you

will

not!"

said Josephine,

doggedly "for I should hate you." " Ah Josephine cruel Josephine. The accursed wretch for him you have stabbed me !" "And you me Unmask him, and I will bless 3'ou on my knees But pray do not :

!

!

We

are parted forever. Be wise now, girl, be shrewd," hissed Josephine, in a tone of which one would not have thought her capable. " Find out who is the woman who has seduced him

from me, and has brought two wretches I tell you it is some bad woto this He loved me once." man's doing !

!

" Not so loud

You

!

!

will

—one not

—^you

word him !

let

are a

you

see

swear " !

"Oh, never! never!

Death sooner!

When you have heard all, then tell him I am gone—tell him I went to Egypt this day with him I— Ah would to God I !

must hear!

I

149

insult him.

wife

stern.

Laure, I forgot ''Are you mad, Josephine? into the house this moment if it is he, I will requick for ceive and dismiss him. Fly *'

LIES.

— !

!

!

had

" !

"Sh! sh!" "Sh!" Camille was at the

Laure stood

still,

little

gate.

and nerved herself

in

Josephine panted in her hiding-

silence.

place.

Laure's only thought now was to expose the traitor to her sister, and restore her to that sweet peace. Sbe would not see Camille till he was near her. He came eagerly toward her, his pale face flushing with great joy and his eyes like diamonds. " Josephine it is not Josephine this must be Laure, little Laure grown up to a fine lady, a beautiful lady my " darling !

Why

!



!

!

"What sieur

?

do you come here for, mon" asked Laure, in a tone of icy in-

difl"erence.

"What

do

come here for?

is that but I am too happy to mind. Dear Beaurepaire do I see you once again ? Ah, Laure, I am not given to despair, but there have been

the

way

I

me ?

to speak to

!

moments, look

3^ou



Bah

am here." "And madame? " " What madarae ? " "Madame Dujardin

!

it is

past.

I

that is or was to be." " This is the first I have ever heard of her," said Camille, gayl3^ " This is odd, for we have heard all about it."

" Are you

"No!"

jesting

?

"

"

"



WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

150

" If I understand j'ou right, you imply I have broken faith with Joseph" ine ? " ** Certainly that

!

''

You

lie

Laure

Mademoiselle

!

de

Beaurepaire." " Insolent " !

"

No

you who have insulted your me. She was not made With to be deserted for meaner women. me it has ever been one God, one Josephine Come, mademoiselle, insult me, and me alone, and you shall find me more patient. Oh, who would have thought Beaurepaire would receive me thus? It is your own fault." "Are you sure?" it is

!

sister as well as

!

'•'

"Positive." " Not m3'^ misfortune ? " "You never sent her a line for all these years." " Alas, no how could I ? " " Nonsense well, monsieur, the information you did not suppl}^ others did." " All the better ? who ? how ? " know from excellent authority that you deserted to the enemy." "I! Camille Dujardin deserted! Josephine, why are you not here ? I know !

:

"We



answer a man who insults me, but I say to a woman ? Oh, God, do 3'ou hear what they say to me after all " I have g-one through ? " Ah, monsieur, you act well " said Laure, acting herself, for her heart began " let us cut this short you to quake were seen in a Spanish village drinking between two guerillas ? " " Well " " An honest French soldier fired at

how

to

what can

!

:

:

!

you?"

to a drinking horn, and my elbow to the table, and two fellows sitting opposite me with pistols quietly covering me, ready to draw the trigger if I should utter a cry ? Did he tell you that I would have uttered that cry and died at that table but for one thing? I had promised her to live." "What an improbable story!" said Laure, but her voice trembled. "Besides, what became of you this three years ? Not a word not a line." "Mademoiselle," began Camille, very coldly, " if you are reallj^ my Josephine's

fastened



you will reproach yourself for this so bitterh' that I need not reproach jon. If she I love were to share these unsister,

it would kill me on the then on my defense. I feel

worthy suspicions spot.

I

am





myself blush God ^but it is for you I blush, not for myself. This is what became of me I went out alone to explore. !

:

I fell into

an ambuscade.

it,"

cried

Laure, joy-

fully.

" The bullet passed through my hand here is the mark, look." " Ah ah He and his comrades told !

!

us all."

" All " Did he !

tell

was chained Did he

you that under the table

tight tell

down

I

to the chair I sat

you that

my

hand was

was

sur-





months

for

and

years, in

spite

of

Avounds, hunger, thirst, and all the tortures those cowards made me suffer, I lived because, Laure, I had promised some one at that gate there " (and he turned suddenly and pointed to it) " that At last one I would come back alive. night my jailer came to my cell drunk. I seized him by the throat and throttled him I did not kill him, but I griped him his keys unlocked till he was insensible my fetters and locked them again upon his limbs, and locked him in the cell, and I got safely outside. But there a sentinel saw me and fired at me. He missed me, but ran after me, and caught me — for I :

:

"All?"

I

I shot one of them and pinked rounded. another, but my arm being broken by a bullet, and my horse killed under me, the rascals got me. I was in fact insensible, probably from loss of blood a cut in These fellows throw their the thigh. knives with great force and skill. They took me about with them, tried to make a decoy of me, as I have told you, and ended by throwing me into a dungeon They loaded me damp, dark dungeon. with chains too, though the walls were ten feet thick, and the door iron, and bolted and double-bolted outside. And

;

"He did." "You confess

in?

—a



I !;

WHITE



was stiff, confined so long- he o-ave me a thrust of his bayonet, I flung my heavy





keys fiercely in his face he staggered wrested his piece from him, and disabled

him."

and g-ot to Bayonne and thence, day and night, to Paris. There I met a reward ;

A

greater is behind, behind Thex'' gave me the epaulets of a colonel. See, here they are. France does not give these to traitors, young lady. And from the moment 1 left dark Spain and entered once more la belle France, every man and woman on the road was so kind, so sympathizingsome cried after me, God speed j'^ou They felt for the poor worn soldier comingback to his love. All but you, Laure. You told me I was a traitor." "Forgive me. I I " and she thoug-ht, " Oh, Heaven enlighten me what shall 1 say ?— what shall I do ? " "Oh, if 3^ou repent," cried he, "that is different. I forgive you. There is my hand. You are not a soldier, and did not know what you were talking about. I am very sorry I spoke so harshly to you. But you understand. How you look for all m}^ anguish. is

!

'

'

——

How you

pant

!



Poor child I forgive you. There, I will show j-ou how I forgive you. These epaulets, dear— I have !

!

never put them on. I said, no, Josephine shall put them on for me. I will take honor as well as happiness from her dear hand. But j'ou are her sister, and what are epaulets compared with what she will give me ? You shall put them on, dear.

Come then you ;

will

be sure I bear no

malice." Laure, faint at heart, consented in silence, and fastened on the epaulets. "Yes, Camille," she said, "think of glory now nothing but glory." " No one thinks of it more. But to-day how can I think of it, how can I give her a rival ? To-day, I am all love. Laure, no man ever loved a human creature as 1 love Josephine. Your mother is well, dear ? All are well at Beaurepaire ? Oh, where is she all this time ? in the house?" He was moving quickly toward the :

151

but Laure in turn put out her hand to stop hiin. He recoiled a little and winced. " What is the matter? " cried she. "Nothing, dear girl; you put your hand on my wound that is all." " Oh, you are wounded ? " "Yes I got a bayonet thrust from one of the sentinels when I escaped from house

;



''Ah!" ''I crossed the frontier in the nig-ht,

a greater

LIES.

;

It is a little inflamed, I will tell but you must promise and not tell Josephine why vex that angel ? This wound has worried me a little all the way.

prison.

you

;

;

They wanted me to stop and lay up at Bayonne how could I ? and ag-ain at Paris how could I ? They said, You will die.' 'Not before I get to Beaure-





'

I. I could bear the motion of a horse no longer. I asked for a carriage. Would you believe it ? both his carriages were out at a wedding-. I could not wait I have waited an till they came back.

paire,' said



eternity.

I

self along-

came on foot. I dragged mybody was weak, but the

—the

A

little way from heart was strong-. here my wound seemed inclined to open ; I pressed it together tight with my hand you see I could not afford to lose any more 'Die?' said blood, and so struggled on. ;

I, 'not before Beaurepaire.' And oh! Laure, now I could be content to die at her feet for I am happy !— Oh, I am





happy What I have gone through But I kept my word— and this is Beaurepaire Hurrah " and his pale cheek flushed feebly, and his eye gleamed, and he waved his hat feebly over his head !

!

!

!



" hurrah hurrah hurrah !" " Oh, don't .'—don't !— don't '* "How can I help ?— I am wild with joy hurrah hurrah hurrah " "Oh! no! no! no! no! no!" " What is the matter ? " " Oh must I stab you worse than all your enemies have stabbed you ? " " What is the matter ? You turn me cold very cold. What is the matter? Josephine does not come. My heart " " Camille my poor Camille there is but one thing for you to do. Leave Beaurepaire on the instant ^fly from it it is no place for you." !

!

!



!

!

!

!



!



!





"She

is

dead!"

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

152

"No." " She me she

passage



she does not come to dead You are all in white is dead they mourn in white for angels like her Oh I was that g-o to heaven virg-ins have told me at once. might blind. You You see I can bear it. "What does it It is matter to one who loves as I love ? only to give her one more proof I lived I would have died a hunonl3' for her. dred times but for my promise to her. Yes I am coming, love I am comis

!



!



!

!

!

!

ing

!

on his knees and smiled, and

fell

whispered

:

"I am coming, Josephine ing



I

am

com-

" !

A

sob and a moan as of a creature dying in anguish answered him. Laure screamed with terror when she

heard

it.

Camille rose wildly to his feet. she is behind the tree." *'I hear her !

*'No

!

no!"

A rustle and a

one gasping sob and heart-

Could she have pent this have died. It betraj^ed her. She felt

it

came the woman's

— flight

she must

in,

had

then the coward's impulse flight the chaste wife's instinct flight. She rushed from her hiding-place and made wildly for the instinct





:

:

:

house.

But Camille was darting round the She ran right upon him. He

tree.

caught her

!''

He

in

stricken cry.

"

He

arms.

his

in

have got her

held her

—I

have got her," he shouted in wild triumph. " No I will not let you go. None but God shall ever take jom from me, and He has spared you to me. You are not dead you have kept faith as I have You have lived. See look at me. I am alive I am well I am happy. I told Laure I had suffered. I lied. If I had irresistibly.

I

!

:

!





suffered I should

remember

it.

It is all

gone at sight of you, my love my love Oh. my Josephine my love " His arm was firm round her waist. His glowing eyes poured love upon her. She felt his beating heart. !

!

rush were heard

in the

tree.

Camille darted furiously round the Laure followed the next moment.

tree.

Josephine was in his arms.

!

!

?



what mortal She seemed two women that her which could not get away

All that passed in her

can say

:

Josephine wrestled long and terribly But with nature in that old oak-tree. who can so struggle forever ? Anguish,

part of

love and horror, despair, wrenched her heart to and foo, like giants mysterious fighting for a prey and oh human heart gleams of a mad fitful joy shot through her, coming quick as lightning, going as quickly, and leaving the despair darker. And oh the fierce strug-

embrace, her bosom heaving madly all that was free writhed away from him her face was averted with a glare of terror, and both her hands put up between his eyes and it. "You turn away your head. Laure, she turns away. Speak for me. Scold her for I don't know how to scold her. No answer from either; oh, what has turned j'our hearts against me so?" "Camille," cried Laure, the tears streaming down her cheeks, "my poor leave Beaurepaire. Oh, leave Camille it at once." He turned toward her with a look of

remorse,

:

!

!

!

the soul to make itself heard. More than once she had to close her mouth with her hand more than once she seized her throat, not to cry out. But, as the struggle endured, she got weaker and weaker, and nature mightier and mightier. And when the wounded hero when he fell on his knees so close to her who had resisted death so bravely for her prepared to give up life calmly for her,

gle

of

:



her bosom rose bej^ond all control it seemed to fill to choking, then to split wide open and give the struggling soul :

from

his strong

resist



it

arm

lost all

strength to

yielded and thrilled under his ;

;

;

!

inquiry.

At that Josephine, like some feeble but nimble wild creature on whom a grasp has relaxed, writhed awaj^ from him and "Farewell! Farewell!" she cried. fled.



:

:

WHITE seemed Despair itself who spoke. She had not taken six steps when Jacintha met her right in front. " Madame It

Rajmal/' she cried, courtes^'in^^r, ''the baroness is in the summer-house, and wants to speak to 3^ou. I was the first to call her madame " and Jacintha, little dreaming- of all she had done, went off in triumph, after another courtes}-. This blow turned those three to stone. Josephine had no longer the power or Better so/' she thought, the wish to fly. and she stood cowering. Then the great passions that had spoken so loud were struck dumb, and a deep silence fell upon the place. Madame Raynal's quivering eye turned slowly and askant toward Camille, but stopped in terror ere it could see him. Silence dend silence! ;

•'•'



The

ladies

ness that Camille.

knew by truth

the

this fearful still-

was creeping on

Madame Raynal cowered more and more. Camille whisper

word

one

in

a

low

white ? " was our doing.

both

in

it We drove Oh, sir, look how afraid of j'^ou Do not kill her do not reproach her, if you are a man." He waved her out of his way as if she had been some idle feather, and he walked up to Josephine. " It is for you to speak to me, my betrothed. Are you married ? " The poor creature, true to her nature, was thinking more of him than herself. Even in her despair it flashed across her, If he knew all, he too would be wretched for life. If I let him scorn me, he may be happy one day." She cowered, the picture of sorrow and

Camille, it.

;



;

!

!

!

:

you could not even wait for me." A low moan, but not a word of excuse. " What can I do for you now ? " " Forget me, Camille " "Forget you? Oh, never! never! There is but one thmg I can do to show you how I loved you forgive 3'ou, and begone. Whither shall I go ? whither " shall I go now ? " Oh, Camille, j^our words stab her 3''ou

:

!



she—" " Be

—none

silent let none speak but I here but I has the right to speak. weak angel that loved j'^et could not be happy if you I forgive you " bid you be hap-py !

!

!

I



Poor wait

:

can

!

The gentle, despairing tones died away, and with them life seemed to end to her, and hope to go out. He turned his back

"To the army!" he He drew himself haughtmarching attitude. He took

cried hoarsel.y.

up

in

three strides, erect and fiery and bold. At the fourth the great heart snapped, and the worn body it had held up so long rolled like a dead log upon the ground

with a tremendous

fall.

;

'•'

tongue-tied guilt. " Are you a wife " Yes "

?

"

!

staggered. " This is how I came to be suspected she I loved was false ? "

;

''Yes, Camille!" !

no

!

" cried Laure.

CHAPTER XXY. The baroness and St. Aubin were walking gently on the South Terrace, when suddenly'' they heard shrieks of terror in the Pleasance. They came with quaking hearts as fast as their old limbs would carry them. Thej' found Laure and Josephine crouched over the body of a man

—an

He

" No

never suspected you and we have brought her to this we alone." " " Be silent, Laure oh, be silent gasped Josephine. " I lived for you I would have died for

ily

"What ? her to she is.

153

quickly on her.

spoke

" Madame ? " Dead silence. ''

LIES.

" She alone

officer.

Laure was just tearing open his collar and jacket. Dard and Jacintha had run from the kitchen at the screams. Camille lay on his back, white and motionless.

!

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

154

The doctor now came up. is

this

"

?

He shook

Who

what "This is

his head.

Stand awaj^,

a bad case.

''

!

Let

ladies.

me

feel his pulse."

man was

While the old

down on one

" See

of terror.

red streak

!

going-

stifflj'-

knee, Jacintha uttered a cry see

!

Ah ah

his

!

it

!

!

is

shirt

that

!

getting- big-

ger and bigger:" and she turned faint in a moment, and would have fallen but for Dard.

whatever you do," said Dard. "I know what it is. I have been wounded." These four carried the lifeless burden very slowly and gently across the Pleasance to the house then with more difficultj'^ and caution up the stairs. All the while the sisters' hands griped one another tight beneath the lifeless burden, and spoke to one another. And Jo:

sephine's

arm upheld

tenderly but not

Josephine don't Now is the time not turn sick at the to show 3^our breed sight of a little blood like that foolish creature but help me save the poor

weakly the hero she had struck down. She avoided Laure's e\'e, her mother's e3^e, and even the doctor's e3^e one gasping sob escaped her as she walked with head half averted and vacant, terror-stricken ej^es, and her victim on her sustaining arm. They laid him in the tapestried chamber. "I must have an airy room for him,"

man." " Take him indoors "

girls

"All the better," thought he was dead then I will save him

The doctor looked. said he firmly.

'•'

I

His blood flows Don't clutch me :

me

cling to

!

!



so,

like that. :

;

!

"Now, away with you, Dard, help me undress him." " Sit on Laure took Josephine's hand

said the doctor. cried the bar-

oness.

:

:

"Into our house,

mamma?"

gasped

Laure.

" The lightning would

strike it

if

we

" cried the baroness. " What a wounded soldier who has fought for did not

!

France

!

m.Y door

leave

him

— never!

to lie and die outside what would my son

say ? He is a soldier." Laure cast a hasty look at Josephine Josephine's eyes were bent on the ground and her hands clinched. "Now, Jacintha, you be off!" cried the doctor. " I can't have cowards about him to make the others as bad go and stew down a piece of good beef for him, ;

;

my girl." "Why,

the stairs," said she "then when Dard comes out we shall hear." Josephine obe^^ed passively. She sat in gloomy silence, her eyes on the ground like one waiting for her death-blow. Laure, sick at heart, sat silent too. At " Have we done last she said faintlj:

:

well

?

"

"I

don't know," said Josephine, dogHer eyes never left the ground. could not let him die for want of care and skill. He will not thank us, my Better to die than live." sister. At this instant Dard came running " Good news Mesdemoiselles down. good news the wound runs all along it is not deep, like mine was. He has opened The dear his eyes and shut them again. good doctor stopped the blood in a twinkle. gedly.

"We

!

!

!

" That I will ; poor thing." The baroness recognized Camille. I

know him:

an old ac-

it is



quaintance, j'oung Dujardin you remem. ber, Josephine ; I used to suspect him of Why, he a fancy for you, poor fellow poor must have come here to see us !

soul."

;





"No matter who it is it is a man. Now, girls, have you courage, have jom humanity ? Then come one on each side of him and take hands beneath his back, while I lift his head and Dard his legs." Dard assented. "And handle him gently, monsieur,

:

The doctor says he'll be bound to save him. I must run and tell Jacintha. She is taking on in the kitchen." Josephine, who had risen eagerly from her despairing posture, clasped her hands together; then lifted up her voice and wept.

"He will live he will live " When she had wept a long while she "Come, my sister, help said to Laure: !

3'our poor Josephine."

"Yes,

love,

what?"

!

"

.

WHITE "My duty," "my duty that

faltered

Josephine



an hour ago seemed

And she fell to weepingso sweet." patiently again. They went to Josephine's room. She crept slowly to a wardrobe, and took out a gray

"Oh, never mind " Alas

alas

!

"Help me, my as well." "' For yourself

for to-daj^"

cried

" I

sister.

It is for

myself

He waited in hopes she would say something, but she held her tongue. "At

least tell

ashamed?

me why

"Neither." "' She hates those

moment

every

am

I

Is she

me ? it is then true that whom we have wounded.

Cruel cruel Josephine. Oh, heart of marble, against which my heart has wrecked itself forever!" " Alas she is not cruel but she is !



"Ah

But have I no claim !— I forgot Nearly four years she has been betrothed. What have I done ? Was

on her

world Camille soon recovered his senses and a portion of his strength then the irritation of his wound brought on fever. This in turn retired before the doctor's remedies and a sound constitution but it left behind it a great weakness and general prostration. And in this state the fate of the body depends greatly on the mind. The baroness and the doctor went constantly to see him and soothe him he smiled and often thanked them, but his eager eyes watched the door for one who :

;

:

not.

When

he got well enough to leave his bed the largest couch was sent up to him from the saloon a kind hand lined the baron's silk dressing-gown for him warm and soft and nice and he would sit or lie on his couch, or take two turns in the room leaning upon Laure's shoulder, and glad of the support and oh, he looked so piteoush'' in her ej^es when she came, and when she went. Laure lowered her eyes before them she could do nothing she could say nothing. She saw that with his strength Camille had lost a portion of his pride that he pined for a sight of her he no longer respected pined for her as the thirsty pine for water in Sahara. At last one day he spoke. " How kind you are to me, Laure how kind you all are but one." :

:

:





:



!



is.

Madame Ra^mal."

They put the gray gown on her, both weeping patie^tl3^ It will be known at the last day what honest women have suffered weeping silently in this noisy

:

it

afraid?"

Is she

!

"

?

" To remind me Madame Raynal."

came

155

we hate

silk dress.

Laure.

LIES.

my

!

?

I ever false to

for

her

?

what she has done

I could forgive

her

to me, but she can-

not forgive me. Does she mean never to " see me again ? " What good could come of it ? " "Very w^ell," said Camille, with a malicious smile. "I am in her way. I see what she wants she shall have it." Laure carried these words to Josephine. They went through her like a sword.



Laure pitied her. " Let us go to him. Anything is better than this." "Laure, I dare not,"

The next

ds^y early,

Josephine took

Laure to a door outside the house, a door that had long been disused. Nettles grew before it. She produced a key and with great difficulty opened this door. "Ah, it is a good many years since I have been in there," said Laure. " Why, Josephine, it leads to the tapestry chamber."

"Yes."

"What am

I to

" Watch him

do?"

you remember where we used to peep through into the room." "' Yes Ah, how happy we were then." " Watch him, as a mother does her !

!

Oh,

child.

if

anything happens to him



while he is under m^'' care "Be calm, love, do not

fear,

I will

watch him. I share your misgivings, your fears, I share all with you." "M}^ sister! my Laure! my guardian angel oh, if I had not you, who know what a miserable woman I am, I should go raving mad " !

!

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

156

When

Josephine

had placed Camille

under this strange surveillance, she felt a little, a very little easier, she hardly knew why for in truth it was a vag-ue protection against a danger equally m3^sterious. So great was Josephine's forethought, so unflinching her determination, that she never once could be prevailed on to mount those stairs, and peep at Camille herself. " I must starve my ;

And

she grew paler and more hollow-eyed day by day. Yet this was the same woman who showed such feebleness and irresolution when Raynal pressed lier to marry him. But then, dwarfs feebly drew her this way and that now giants fought for her. Between a feeble inclination and a feeble disinclination her dead heart drifted to and fro. Now honor, duty, gratitude, which with her was a passion, dragged her one waj'^ love, pity and remorse anheart, not feed it."

:



other.

Neither of these giants would relax grasp, and nothing yielded except her vital powers. Yes her temper the loveliest temper Heaven ever gave a human creature was soured at times. There lay the man she loved pining for Cursing her for her cruelty prayher. ing Heaven to forgive him and to bless his



;





her,



and curse him instead sighing, at all the day long so loud, so

intervals,

if his heart broke with each sigh and sometimes, for he little knew, poor soul, that any human eye was upon him, casting aside his man-

deep, so piteously, as ;

hood in his despair, and flinging himself on the ^ery floor, and muffling his head, and sobbing he a hero.



And here was she pining in secret for I am not a wohim who pined for her. man at all," cried she, who was all wo*'

heat to cold and Nature rebelled with all her forces. As when a rock tries to stem a current, the water fights its way on more sides than one, so msulted Nature dealt with Josephine. Not only did her bod}'- pine, but her nerves were exasperated. Sudden twitches came over her that almost made her scream. Her permanent state was utter despondency but ;

;

came fitful flashes of irritation and then she was scarce mistress of heracross

it

;

self.

Wherefore, you who find some holy cross and bitter, stop a moment before you sum her up vixen and her religion naught inquire the history of her heart perchance beneath the smooth,

woman

:

:

surface of duties well discharged, her life has been, or even is, a battle against some self-indulgence the insignificant saint's very blood cries out for and so the poor thing is cross, not because she is bad, but because she is better than the rest of us yet human. As for Josephine's little bursts of fretfulness, they were always followed by disproportionate penitence and pathetic efl^orts to be so very kind to those whom she had. scratched, and then felt for as if she had plowed great bleeding furrows in them. Now, though she was more on her guard with the baroness than with Laure, or the doctor, or Jacintha, her state could not altogether escape the vigilance of a mother's e^^e. But the baroness had not the clew we have. That makes all the difference how small an understanding put by accident or instruction on the right track shall run the game down how great a sagacit gets on a false it}^ sliall wander if cold

:



:

:

man. ** I am cruder to him than a tiger or any savage creature is to the victim she tears. I must not tempt you. To love me now is a sin. I must cure you of your love for me, and then die for what shall I have to live for ? He weeps,

Doctor, j'ou are so taken up with your you neglect the rest of us. Do She is ill " look at Josephine " No, madame, or she would have told

" he sighs, he cries for Josephine This enforced cruelty was more contrary to this woman's nature as well as to her heart than black is to white, or

ings and inventions:

:

!

scent.* ''

patient,

!

I

me." * Vide all authentic records of man's reasonfor

climax

plunge from

Newton reasoning astronomy down reasoning alchemy.

to

Newton

WHITE "Well, then, she

going-

is

to be

ill.

She is so pale, and so fretful, so peevish, which is not in her nature. Would you " believe it, doctor, she snaps ? **Our Josephine snap? This is new." "

And

snarls

" !

" Then look for the end of the world." '* The other day I heard her snap Laure; and this morning- she half snarled at me, just because 1 pressed her to go and conhere she is. our patient. Hush am accusing you to monsieur

sole

My

!

child, I

here.

I

am

telling

him you neglect

his

patient." *'

I,

mamma ? "

We

mighty innocent kind. are so occupied with this poor fellow she thinks her soldier is forgotten." " Surely, doctor, our Josephine would not be so unreasonable, so unjust." " She belongs to a sex, be it said without offending you, madame, among whose numberless virtues justice does not fill a prominent place." The baroness shook her head. " That is not it. It is a piece of pruder3\ This young gentleman was a sort admirer of hers, though she did not admire him much, as far as I remember. But it was four years ago and she is married to a man she loves, or is going

of

"One of these days, my daughter! You used not to be so hard-hearted. A an old comrade of your husband's, wounded and sick, and you alone never go to him to console him with a word of sympathy or encouragement." Josephine looked at her mother with a soldier,

sort of incredulous stare.

"

I do not recognize are so kind-hearted and

You who

j^ou. pitiful,

except to

soldiers."

Josephine smiled bitterly. Then after a struggle she replied with a tone and manner so spiteful and icy that it would liave deceived even us who know her,

had we heard it. " He has plenty of nurses without me," she added, almost violently. "My husband, if he were wounded, would not have so many, perhaps not have one." With this she rose and went out, leaving them aghast. She sat down in the passage on a window-seat, and laughed h3'sterically.

Laure heard her and ran to her. Josephine told her what her mother had said to her. Laure soothed her.

You have your j'ou

to love."

" Well, but,

said Josephine coldly.

"Never mind. who understands

157

;

''You never go near him." "I will visit him one of these days,"

wounded

LIES.

:

don't

come

mamma,

a

trifling excess

of delicacy is surely excusable."

" It

not delicacy it is prudery. people are sick and suffering, an honest woman should take up her charity, and lay down her prudery or her coquetry two things that I suspect are the same thing in different shapes." Here Jacintha came in. " Mademoiselle, here is the colonel's Madame Raynal has flavored it broth for him, and you are to take it up to him and keep him company while he eats it." "Come," cried the baroness, "my lecture has not been lost." Laure followed Jacintha upstairs. Laure was heart and head on Raynal's is

:

And when

:

:

side.

She had deceived him about Josephine's attachment, and felt all the more desirous to guard him against any ill consequences of it. Then he had been so generous to her he had left her her sister, who would have gone to Egypt, and escaped this misery, but for her. But, on the other hand, if I may use a great master's words, ;

"Gentle sister in

till

have got some other topic." Laure out of curiosity'- went in, and found a discussion going on. The doctor was fathoming Josephine for the benefit of his companion. "It is a female jealousy; and of a

pity-

Tugged at her heart-strings with complaining cries."

the}'-

This watching of Camille made her wretched. When she was with him his pride bore him up but when he was alone, as he thought, his anguish and despair were terrible, and broke out in so :

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

158

many ways

that often Laure shrank in

terror from her peep-hole.

She dared not

what she saw

Josephine the half of did tell her ag-i-

tell

what she

:

and often Laure tated her so terribly had it on the tip of her tong-ue to say, "Do pray g-o and see if you can say nothing- that will do him g-ood: " but she foug-ht the impulse down. This battle of feeling-, thoug-h less severe than her sister's, was constant it destroyed her g-ayet^^ She whose merry laugh used to ring- like chimes throug-h the house never laug'hed now, seldom smiled, and often sig-hed. The elders felt a deep g-loom settle down upon the house. One evening- the baroness, Josephine, and St. Aubin sat in the saloon, in dead ;

:

silence.

St.

Aubin had been the

last to

succumb to the deep depression, but for a day or two he had been as g-rave and as sad as the rest. He now broke silence. *'I am g-lad Laure is out of the room," said he, thoughtfully ; '* I wish to con*'

you two."

We

my

listen,

friend," said the bar-

oness, with interest.

"It

is

humiliating-, after all

my expe-

rience, to be obliged to consult unprofesFort3'' years ago I should have been too wise to do so. But since then I have often seen science baffled and untrained intelligences throw light upon hard questions and your sex in particular has luminous instincts and reads

sional persons.

;

things by flashes that we men miss witli a microscope. Our dear Madame Raynal read that notary, and to this day I believe she could not tell us how." "I know very well how I read him,

dear friend."

"A

!

!





The cowards made him suffer tortures. Oh, doctor he is alive by a miracle. I cannot think that Heaven will desert him now. Do send for Laure she will tell you better than I can all he has gone

" Oh, I can't

tell

how."

Well, then, you must And this time I proinise to treat your art with more re-

"There you

me

see.

in this case.

spect."

through."

"you mistake not what I want to know. It is not the past but the present that gives me so much concern. Past dangers are present delights." " Doctor, what do you mean ? " " I mean this, that he ought to get But it is not m}"well, and does not. fault no man can be cured without his own help and he will not put a finger to the work. Patients complain of our init is not so here I am all difference

"No,"

me.

said St. Aubin,

That

is

:

;

:

:

anxiet3'^

and

zeal,

my sick man

and

is

his

own by-stander

apathetic as a log." The doctor walked the room in great excitement. " Ladies, for pity's sake help me get you, his history from him, and tell it me :

:

Josephine, with your instincts, do for pity's sake help me do throw off that sublime indifference you have manifested all along to this man's fate." "She has not " cried the baroness, fir!

" She lined his dressing-gown and she inspects everything for him " that he eats do you not ? "Yes! mj^ mother." ing up.

;

:

" she is to read now ? asked the baroness. Josephine said nothing, but trembled, and was secretly but keenly on her guard.

"And who

;

:

"How?" help

He

?

!

Doctor

sult

Who

should it be but my poor papuzzles me. I never knew a patient so faint-hearted." soldier faint-hearted " exclaimed the baroness. " To be sure these men that storm cities and fire cannon, and cut and hack one another with so much spirit, are poor creatures compared with us when they have to lie quiet and suffer." "Josephine," said the doctor, abrupt"do 3'ou know Colonel Dujardin's ly, character ? " " No! yes by the bulletins of the army long ago." " Do you know his history ? " "No yes. He told Laure: and she told me. He was taken prisoner in Spain.

"

tient

is it

"Have

patience,

my

friend: time will

cure your patient, and time alone." " Time you speak as if time was a !



!

WHITE

LIES.

159

time is only a measure of events, time kills as favorable or unfavorable m;iny as it cures." " Why, doctor, you surely would not

him

imply his life is in any danger ? " *' Should I be saying- all this if it was not ? Must I speak out ? Well, then, I will. If some change does not take place soon, he will be a dead man in another fortnig-ht. That is all time will do for him. Now." The baroness uttered an exclamation of

what 3^ou will, I will not speak. " tell him you are coming?

quality

:

:

pity

and

distress.

Josephine put her hand to her bosom, creeping- horror came over her, and then a faintness. Suddenly she rushed from the room. In the passage she met Laure coming hastily'- toward the salon, laughing the first time she had laughed this many a day. Oh, what a contrast between the two faces that met there the one pale and horror-stricken, the other rosy and laughing " Well, dear, at last I am paid for all my trouble. I have found my lord out. What do you think he does ? What is the matter ? "

and a

;



" Nothing tell me tell me " ''You are agitated, Josephine. My sister my sweet sister What have they been doing to you now ? You want my storj'- first ? Very well. Oh, the doctor would be in a fine rage if he knew it." ''The doctor?" " Yes it is soon told. Camille never takes a drop of his medicine. He pours it into the ashes under the grate. I saw him. I caught him in the act ha! ha!" Josephine stared wildly at Laure to !



!

!

!

hear her laugh.

"Ah!

I

you don't know

:

I love

Ah

!

" No.

Let

me have

Shall I

every advantage

:

me

think beforehand every word I shall say but take him by surprise, coward and double-face that I am." The sisters stood at the door. Josephine's heart beat audibly. She knocked a faint voice said, " Come in." She and Laure entered the room. Camille sat on the sofa, his head bowed over his hands. glance showed Josephine that he was doggedly and resolutely thrusting himself into the grave. Thinking it was only Laure, for he had now lost all hope of seeing Josephine come in at the door, he never moved. Some one glided gently but rapidly up to him. He looked up. Josephine was kneeling to him. let

:

:

A

He lifted his head with a start, and trembled all over. "Camille, I am come to you to beg 3'our pity, to appeal to your generosity, to ask a favor I who deserve so little of you." "You have waited a long time," said



Camille, agitated greatly;

"and

so

have

I," he added, bitterl3^

" Camille, you are killing one who loved you once, and who has been very weak and faithless, but not so wicked as she appears." " How am I killing you ? " " With remorse to see you



into the tomb.

Camille,

is

? Do I not suffer enough make me a murderess ? "

you

3^ou

sinking

this generous ?

Would

me ?

Josephine paused on the first landing. "Promise me not to contradict a word I shall say to him. I must hide my heart

—yes, him I love, I adore,

I have got you to whom can tell the truth, or I could not go on the walking lie I am. I love him I adore

worship.

!

" Then Avhy have jou never been near I could forgive your weakness, but not 3"our heartlessness." "It is my duty. I have no right to

Where to ? " "To him.''

"

I

:

!

of

forgot:

come."

from him

I will deceive him, and save him, and then lie down and die." " Be calm pray be calm " said Laure. " Oh, that he had never been born Say

!

I

:

seek 3^our societ3^ If you really wanted mine you would get well, and so join us downstairs a week or two before you leave us."

" How am I to get well broken." " Be a man, Camille.

?

My

heart

De not

is

fling

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

160

away a

life because a fickle, could not wait for you. Forgive like a man, or revenge yourself If you. cannot forgive me, kill like a man. me. See, I kneel at your feet. I will not

j'esist •'

woman

you.

me

Kill

''

you with a look and

Oh

if

!

I could kill

m\^self with a

wish

!

should ever take you from me would be together in the then. hour. Do not tempt me, this grave at "

No man

We

I

say

!

And

he cast a terrible look of love, and hatred, and despair upon her. Her purple eye never winced it poured back tenderness and affection in return. He saw and turned away with a groan, :

and held out his hand to her. She seized it and kissed it. " You are you will not great, you are generous strike me as a woman strikes you will ;



me

not die to drive

" Ah " No

!

3"ou love

me

to despair." still

" !

no no my heart is dead. But When I had a right I loved you once. to love you. A woman cannot forget all. Can you ? Yes you can, to be revenged on poor silly Josephine." love is gone but pity remains *'I see I thought that was gone too." !

!

!

!



:



"Yes, Camille," said Josephine in a whisper; ''pity remains, and remorse and terror at what I have done to a man of whom I was never worthy." ''Well, madarae, as you have come at last to me, and even do me the honor to ask me a favor I shall try if only out Josephof courtesy to ah, Josephine ine when did I ever rufuse you any-



— — —

!

!

this Josephine

sank

into a chair,

and burst out crying. Camille, at this, and the two poor began to cry too ;

things sat a long waj'- from one another and sobbed bitterl3^ The man, weakened as he was, recovered his quiet despair first. " Don't cry so, my poor soul " said he. !

"But

me what

and I you as I used before any one came between us " " Then live, Camille I implore you tell

is

your

shall obey

!

!

to live

!

I will live."

" Since





oh bless you, good you are how generous you are. You have promised you keep your promises you are not like me." " Why did not you come before and ask me ? I thought I was in your wa}'. I thought you wanted me dead." Josephine cast a look of wonder and anguish on Camille, but she said nothing. She rang the bell, and, on Jacintha coming up, she dispatched her to Doctor St. Camille.

care

I

!

!

How

:



Aubin

for the patient's medicine. "Tell the doctor," said she, "Colonel Dujardin has let fall the glass." While Jacintha was gone, she scolded Camille gently. "How could you be so unkind to the poor doctor, who loves you so ? " "What have I done to him?" asked

Camille, coloring.

"You throw away his medicines. Do you think I am blind. Look at the ashes they are wet. Camille, are 3'ou too becoming disingenuous?" " He gives me tonics that do me too much good 1 could not die quick enough ;

;

—there, forgive me. live — I will live." Jacintha came glass,

I

will,

in

I

have promised to

with the tonic in a

and retired with an obeisance,

Josephine took it to Camille. "Drink with me, then," said he, "or I will not touch it." Josephine took the glass. " I drink to your health, Camille, and laurels to your brow, my to your glory hero and some faiCliful woman to \o\xv :

!

heart,

thing?"

At

it,

:

!

wish I could.

I

" Well, Josephine, since you care about

soldier's

worthless

folly

:

who it is

will

make you

for her I save

forget this

She put

you."

the glass with well-acted spirit to her but in the very action a spasm lips seized her throat and almost choked her she lowered her head that he might not see her face and tried again but the ;

;

;

tears burst from her eyes and ran into the liquid, and her lips trembled over the

brim, and couldn't. "Ah! give it me," he cried: "there is a tear of yours in it." He drank off the bitter remedy now as if it had been nectar.

;

'

WHITE Josephine blushed.

"

you wanted me to live, why did you

If

" not come here before ? '' I did not think you would be so foolish, so wicked, so cruel as to do what you have been doing-." *' Josephine, come and shine upon me ever3^ day, and 3^ou shall have no fresh cause of complaint thing-s flourish in the sunshine that die in the dark Laure, it is as if the sun had come into my prison you are pale, but you are beautiful as what a sweet more beautiful ever dress so quiet, so modest, it sets off your beauty instead of vainly trying to vie with it." He put out his hand and took her g"ray silk dress and went to kiss it as a devotee kisses the altar steps. She snatched it furiously away with a shudder. said she; **Yes, you are rig-ht," *' thank j^ou for noticing my dress it is dress I ha a beautiful dress ha take a pride in wearing-, and always shall, I hope. I mean to be buried in it. Come, Laure Thank you, Camille ; you are very good, you have once more promised me to live. Get well ; come downstairs then you will see me every day, you know there is a temptation. Good by, Camille are you coming-, Laure ? What are you loitering- for ? God bless you, and comfort you, and help you to forget what it is madness to :

:

;



;

!

:



!

A

!

!

;



I

remember She was gone. The room seemed !



'



love, I

to darken

to Ca-

:

!

He believes whatever you teli He is all ears, and no e3'^es. Yes, watched him

keenlj'^ all

the time.

He really thinks it is pity and remorse nothing more. M}' poor sister, you have a hard life to lead a hard game to play (K) '6



if

to-day."

" Then God be thanked," cried Josephine. "I am as happy to-day as I can ever hope to be. Now let us go through the farce of dressing it is near dinnertime ; and then the farce of talking, and, hardest of all, the farce of living." From that hour Camille began to get better very slowly, j^et perceptibly. The doctor, afraid of being mistaken, said nothing foy some days, but at last he announced the good news at the dinner-table. It was no news to either of the sisters. Laure had watched every symptom, and had told Josephine. *' He is to come downstairs in three days," added the doctor. The baroness. " Thank Heaven and :

!

now that

removed,

do hope you will have time to cure her who is dearer to us than all the world." " My mother Josephine. there is anxiety

is

I

:

matter with me." " Then why do you answer nobody."

nothing the Baroness. I mentioned Josephine smiled; but

was confused

the

:

he said, kindly:

?

doctor

''Indeed,

and somewhat thinner." "Thinner? What wonder, when she eats nothing?" "Is this true? Do you St. Aubin.

you look

pale,

Baroness.

eat nothing

?

Josephine.

"

"I

eat

as

much

as

I

:

I

relish." St.

!

him.

home

you could he came

;

have often heard you say we should eat no more than we can

Outside the door Josephine caught hold almost fiercely of Laure. " Have I committed myself ? " " Over and over again. Do not look so terrified I mean to me but not to him. Oh what a fool he is and how much better you must know him than I do to venture on such a transparent !

.161

but so far you have succeeded look poor Raynal in the face

require.

mille.

deceit.

LIES,

Aubin.

" She

is

right.

Perhaps

we

dine toe early for you. I observe you don't seem to enjoy your dinner."



" Enjoj' my dinner ? " " Why not ? You are not St. Aubin. an angel in bod,y, though you are in mind; and if you don't enjo^'^ your dinner, there is something wrong. However, Josephine.

perhaps Jacintha does not give us the dishes you like."

Josephine.

" No

!

no

!

it

is

not that.

All dishes taste like one to me." St. like ?

Aubin.

"

What

do

they taste

"

Josephine.

" Like

?

—like

all

the same

Rkadk—Vol.

VI.



:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

162

—quite tasteless."

Don't tease me. What matter? Baroness. *' There, doctor, there: see how fretful the poor child is g-etting-." St. Auhin. " I see, madame, and divine the cause. Now, Madame Raynal, let us be serious. I understand you to say that a slice of this mutton, or of that chicken, taste the same to you or, to speak more " correctly, have no taste ? " None whatever." Josephine. " Bile !!!!!" St. Auhin. does

it

:

by the hope of seeingevery day, turned his mind seriously toward getting well and, as his disorder had been lethargy, not disease, he improved visibly. But, as his body streng-thened, some of the worst passions in our nature attacked him. Fierce g-usts of hate and love combined overpowered this man's high sentiments of honor and justice, and made him clinch his teeth, and vow never to leave Beaurepaire without Josephine. She had been his four years before she ever saw Raynal, and she should be his forever. Her love would soon revive when they should meet every day, and Then conscience pricked him, and re-

he have hesitated

an instant between But such natures, proof against all other temptations, have often fallen, and will fall, where sin takes the ang-el form of her they love. Yet, of all men, fhQv should praj'^ for help to

and wrong.

right

stand for, fallen, the^^ still retain one thing that divides them from mean sin:

ners.

Remorse

— the

g-iant that rends the great hearts that mock at fear.

Camille, bribed

Josephine

;

minded him how and why Raynal had married her for Laure had told him all. Should he undermine an absent soldier, whose whole conduct in this had been so :

pure, so generous, so unselfish

But

this

was not

?

all.

was under a great quondam comrade Rajmal, of which more by and by. Whenever this was vividly present to Strang'e to say, he

personal obligation to his

his mind, a great terror fell on him, and he would cry out in anguish * Oh, that some angel would come to me and tear me b.y force from this place " And the next moment passion swept over him like a flood, and carried away His soul was in all his virtuous resolves. deep waters great waves drove it to and Perilous condition, which seldom fro. ends welL Camille was a man in whom honor sat :

!

;

throned. In no other earthly circumstance could

CHAPTER XXVI. The day came in which the doctor had promised his patient he should come downstairs. First his comfortable sofa was taken down into the saloon for his use then the patient himself came down leaning on the doctor's arm, and his heart palpitating at the thoug-lit of the meeting-. He came into the room the baroness :

was alone. She g-reeted him kindly, and welcomed him. Laure came in soon after and did the same. But no Josephine. Camille felt sick at heart. At last dinner was announced. " She will surely join us at dinner," thought he. He cast his eyes anxiously on the table the napkins were laid for four only. The baroness carelessly explained this to him as they sat down. ''Madame Raynal dines in her own room. I am sorry to say she is indisposed." Camille muttered polite regrets the rage of disappointment drove its fang's into him, and then came the hollow achThe next day he ing- of hope deferred. saw her, but could not get a word with her alone. The baroness tortured him another way. She was full of Raynal. She loved him. She called him her son was never weary of descanting on his virtues to Camille. Not a day passed that she did not pester Camille to make a calculation as to the probable period of :

:

:

— WHITE and he was obliged to answer ; She related to him, before Josephine and Laure, how this honest soldier had come to them like a guardian ang-el and saved the whole family. In vain he muttered that Laure had told him. " Let me have the pleasure of telling it 3'ou my waj^" cried she, and told it difhis return

her.

fuse! j\

The next thing was, Josephine had received no letter from him this month the first month he had missed. In vain did Laure represent that he was only a few days over his time. The baroness became anxious, communicated her anxieties to Camille among the rest, and by a torturing interrogatory compelled him to explain to her before them a»ll that ships do not always sail to a day, and are somebut oh he writhed at the and Laure observed that he never mentioned it, nor acknowledged the existence of such a person as Josephine's husband, except when others compelled him. Yet they were acquainted, and Laure wondered that he did not sometimes detract or sneer. times delayed

man's name

:

!

;

"I should," said she,

He

'*I

know I should."

too noble," said Josephine, *'and too wise. If he did, I should re**

spect if

is

him

less,

and

my

husband more

possible."

Certainly Camille was not the sort of nature that detracts ; but the reason he avoided Raynal's name was simply that his whole battle was to forget such a man existed. From this dream he was rudely awakened every hour since he joined the family, and the wound his self-deceiving heart would fain have skinned over was torn open. But worse than this was the torture of being tantalized. He was in company with Josephine, but never alone. Even if she left the room for an instant, Laure accompanied her and returned with her. Camille at last began to comprehend that Josephine had decided there should be no private interviews between her and him. Thus not only the shadow of the absent Raynal stood between them, but her mother and sister in person, and, worst of all, her own will.

!

LIES.

163

fiend," he cried in his *' Cold-blooded rage, ''you never loved me; you never will reallj'' love any one."

Then the thought of all her tenderness and goodness came to rebuke him. But, even in rebuking, it maddened him. "Yes it is her very nature to love ; but, since she can make her heart turn whichever way her honor bids, she will love her husband. She does not now but sooner or later she will then she will have children." He writhed with anguish and fury at this thought loving ties between him and her. "He has everything on his side ; I, nothing but memories she will Will efface ? She efface from her heart. must have effaced them, or she could not ;

— —

have married him."

He

rose and

went

out into the Pleasance. He felt as if all must see the frightful tempest in his He went into the Park, and heart. wandered wildly. He was in that state in which men commit acts that the next moment they look back on with wonder as well as horror. He wandered and wandered by the side of the brook, and at each turn where the stagnant current showed a deeper pool than usual he stopped and looked, and thought, "How calm and peaceful you are " He sat down at last by the waterside, his eyes bent on a calm green !

pool.

" You are very calm and peaceful, and you could give me your peace. No more rage no more jealousy ^no more despair.





death for a soldier to die who has seen great battles. When I was a boy ah why cannot I be a boy again ? then I read of a Spartan soldier that was on a sinking ship. There was no hope no more there is for me. He drew his sword and fell on it ere the ship could sink. I can understand that man's heart. I am of his mind. Still we must do the It is a sordid





!



we

best tols.

me

can.

Ah what is this? my pismy old comrades sent !

The present

while I lay between

life

and death.

Why did not I die then ? "

I am glad I have got my strange I should put them into this coat, and put the coat on

No matter

pistols.

away

How

:



a

"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

164

without knowing-

All these things are

it.



word with her For is best so. should have taken her with me." parting- word.

No

!

it

I

" Sir colonel " uttered a harsh, dry voice behind hira. Camille started. Absorbed and strung up to desperation as he was, this voice seemed unnaturallj'loud, and discordant with his mood ; a sudden trumpet from the world of small !

an hour

but his deadly purpose Suddenly he started, a lady was at the stile, about a hundred yards distant. He trembled. It was Johalf

:

grew^ in him.

preordained. ''To go without a

!

things.

sephine.

She came toward him slowly, her eyes bent on the ground in a deep reverie. She stopped about a stone's throw from him, and looked at the river long and thoughtfully then casting her eyes round she :

caught sight of Camille. He watched her grimly. He saw her give a little start, and half turn round but if this was an impulse to retreat, it was instantly ;

Picard the notary stood behind him.

" Can you tell me where Madame Raynalis?" " No. At the chateau, I suppose." *' She is not there I inquired of the She was out. You have not servant. " seen her, colonel ? :

*a!no." "Then perhaps

I had better go back to the chateau and wait for her stay, you are a friend of the family. Colonel, suppose I were to tell you, and ask you to tell Madame Rajmal, or better still to tell the baroness, or Mademoiselle Laure." Camille, coldly, "Monsieur," said "charge me with no messages, for I shall not deliver them. I am going another way." " In that case, monsieur, I will go to the chateau once more." :

suppressed for the next moment she pursued her way. Camille stood gloomy and bitter, awaiting her in silentie. He planted himself in the middle of the path. She looked him all over, and her color came and went. "Out so far as this, Camille," she " Well done, but where is said, kindly. your cap ? " He put his hand to his head, and discovered that he was bareheaded. "You will catch your death of cold. Come, let us go in and get your cap." She made as if she would pass him. He planted himself right before her. :

"No." "Monsieur

"You shun me." " No,

"Go!" Picard went, wondering at the colonel's strange manner, Camille wondered that any one could be so mad as to talk to him about trifles to him a man standing on the brink of Poor soul, it was he who was eternity. mad and unluckj'. He should have heard what Picard had to say. Notaries are not embarrassed, and hesitating to whom to speak, for nothing. He watched Picard's retiring form. When he was out of sight then he turned round and resumed his thoughts as if Picard had been no more than a fly that had buzzed and then gone. "Yes; I should have taken her with



me." He sat gloomy and dogged like never a dangerous manaic in his cell moved, scarce thought for more than :

!

do not shun you, Camille." shun me." "I have avoided conferences that can lead to no good it is my duty." " You are very wise cold-hearted people can be wise." " Am I cold-hearted, Camille ? " "As marble." She looked him in the face; the water came into her eyes after a while she whispered "Well, Camille, lam." "But, with all your wisdom and all your coldness, you have made a mistake you have driven me to despair." " Heaven forbid " I

"You

;

:

:

!

"Your have done

pra^'^er

comes too late; you

it."

me go to the oratory and You terrify me."

" Camille, let

pray for you.

"

WHITE *'

Heaven has no mercy

Useless.

Take

me.



my

advice, stay

for

where you



are don't hurry since what remains of your life you are to pass with me—do you understand that ? '*

'^Ah!" '' Can you read

my riddle ? "

" I can read your love me.

Men "

kill

Ay

!

I think

the thing- they love." sooner than another should have !

it,

us

they kill it— they kill it " God has not made them patient

women — poor

Camille

!

like

" .

" Patience dies when hope dies. Come, Madam Raynal, say a prayer, for you are g-oing to die." *' God bless you, Camille " said the poor girl, putting her hands together. Camille hung his head, then, lashing himself into fury, he cried !

:

"^You are my betrothed, you talk of but you forget j^our duty to me. dut}'^ Are you not my betrothed this four years? Answer me that." "Yes, Camille." " Did I not suffer death a hundred times for you, to keep faith with you, you cold-blooded traitress with an angel's



face."

" Oh, Camille, why do you speak so bitterly to me ? Have I denied your right You shall never dishonor to kill me ? me, but you shall kill me, if it is your then pleasure. I do not resist. speak to me like that must the last



words

I hear

Why

from your mouth be words "

of anger, cruel Camille ? ''

I

was wrong.

But

it

is

hard to

kill

her I love in cold blood. I want anger as well as despair to keep me to it; well, turn your head away from me." "Oh, no, Camille, let me look at you. Then you will be the last thing I shall see on earth." He hesitated a moment then, with a fierce stamp at his own weakness, he leveled a pistol at her. She put up her hands, with a piteous :

my pray do not disfigure my face Here kill me here in my bosom my heai^t that loved Oh, not

face, Camille !



you

165

well,

when

it

was no

to love

sin

you." "I'can't shoot you.

your

I can't spill

blood, Josephine."

" Poor Camille "This will end

!

all, and not disfigure that has driven me mad, and cost 3'^ou, poor wretch, your life." " Thank you, dear Camille. The water doea^Hot frighten me as a pistol does ^it it will only kill me." will not hurt me "No, it is but a plunge, and you will be at peace forever— and so shall I. Come. Take my hand, Madame Raynal— Raynal Madame Raynal "

beaut}'',







Madame

!

" What, you too ? " and she drew back. "Oh, Camille, my poor mother! and Laure, who loves me so." " Ah

!

them. a moment, then suddenly

I forgot

He was

silent

shrieked out " Fly, Josephine, fly escape this moment, that my better angel whispers to !

me.

Do

j'^ou

hear? begone, while

it is

time."

" I will not leave you, Camille." " I say you shall. Go to your mother and Laure go to those you love, and I



can bear joxi to love. Go to the chapel, and thank Heaven for your escape." " I will not go without you, Camille. I am afraid to leave you." "You have more to fear if you stay." " Well, I can't wait any longer. Stay, then, and learn from me how to love.'* He leveled the pistol at himself. Josephine threw herself on him with a The\' struggled cry, and seized his arm. It was not till after a long and fiercely.

mighty effort that he threw her off. But he did throw her off, and raised the pistol rapidly to take his life. But this time, ere the deadly weapon could take effect, she palsied his suicidal hand with a word " No I LOVE YOU :

!

!

CHAPTER XXVn.

cry— '•'

LIES,

your

eyes, and I know you you mean to kill me.

""

"

:



!



There lie the dead corpses words on paper but oh, my art ;

of those is

power-



— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

166

you how

less to tell

tliey

those words, potent saved a life. They were a cry of They were a cry of They were a cry of

The weapon shook

were uttered

terror

!

reproach

!

love unfathomable his hand.

in

mille

king's, that

as a

!

He

looked at her with growing- astonishment

and joy. She looked at him fixed ly and anxia||Bly, her hands clasped in supplication. " Not as you used to love me " *' More, far more. Give me the pistol. " I love you, dearest, I love you At these delicious words he lost all power of resistance her soft and supple hand closed upon his, and gently withdrew the weapon and threw it into the water. " Good, Camille now give me !

!

was

too



ashamed and penitent to

speak too full of terror, too, at the abyss of crime from which he had been saved. The ancients feigned that a virgin could subdue a lion ; they meant by this that a pure, gentle nature can subdue a nature fierce but generous. Lion-like, Camille walked by Josephine's side with his ej'es bent on the ground, a picture of humilitj^ and penitence. **

"

is the last walk you and take together."

Camille, this

I shall

I

to be

know

it. I have by your side."

forfeited all right

" How do you know there is another ? *' You love me, Camille ^you never meant to kill me and spare yourself

My poor friend, will you never understand me ? You never stood higher in my esteem than at this moment. It is the avowal you have forced from me that parts us. The man to whom I have said, ' I must not remain beneath my husband's roof. Does not your sense of honor agree with mine ? " "Josephine," faltered Camille, "it

come."

does."

;

!



the other."

"





Josephine, I am so unhappj^ do not deceive me pray, do not take this one from me, unless you really love me." *'





"

" I love you I adore you She leaned her head on his shoulder, but with her hand she sought his, and even as she uttered those loving words she coaxed the weapon from his now un!

resisting grasp.

There, it is gone, yon are saved from death saved from worse, from crime." The danger over, she trembled for the first time, and sobbed hysterically. He fell at her knees, and embraced them again and again, and begged her forgiveness in a transport of remorse and *'



self-reproach.

**



'

" To-morrow you must leave the chateau."

" Must

I,

"What,

Josephine ? " you do not resist, you do not heart by complaints, by re-

break my proaches ? ? " " No, Josephine all is changed. I thought you unfeeling I thought j'^ou were going to be happy with him that



:



was what maddened me." " Camille, I pray dailj^ you may be happy, no matter how. But you and I are not alike, dear as we are to one anI shall never other. Well, do not fear be happy will that soothe you, Ca" mille ? :



"Yes, Josephine, all is changed, the words you have spoken have driven the fiends out of my heart. I have nothing to do now but to obey, you to command Since you love me, disit is your right. live bid me die bid Bid me of me. pose

She looked down with tender pit3'' on him, and heard his cries of penitence and shame. ** I think only of what you have to suffer Aow." " Let it come It will fall light on me now. I thought I had lost your love." "No, it will not fall light on you nor on me. Rise, Camille, and go home with

bey the friend upon the earth." A single deep sob from Josephine was

me,"

all

*

!

said she, faintly. *'Yes, Josephine." They went slowly and in silence.

Ca-

:

:

me

staj'^

:

me go. angel who bid

I shall never disoloves me mj'^ only



the answer. " Why did you not trust me, beloved one ? Why did you not say to me long

:

WHITE ago,

'

I love you,

husband

but

I

am

a wife

whenever one

:

me

love

onh-^

angels

as

gave me no chance

am

of

depart and

;

love

You

?

'

showing that

I too

a person of honor."

I think I '*I was wrong, Camille. should have trusted more to you. But who would have thought you could really doubt my love ? You were ill I*could not bear j'^ou to go till you were well, quite well. I saw no other way to keep 3'ou but this, to treat you with feigned coldness. You saw the coldness, but not what it cost me to maintain it. Yes, I was unjust and inconsiderate, for I had many furtive joj^s to sustain me I had you in my house under my care— that thought was always sweet I had a hand in ever.ything that was for j'our good, I helped Jacintha make j'our comfort. your soup and your chocolate every day. I lined j^our dressing-gown I had always some little thing or other to do for you. These kept me up I forgot in my selfishness that you had none of these supports, and that I was driving you to despair. I am a foolish, disingenuous woman I have been very culpable. Forgive me " " Forgive you, angel of purity and goodness ? I am alone to blame. What right had I to doubt your heart ? I knew the whole story of jour marriage I saw your sweet pale face but I was not pure enough to comprehend angelic virtue and unselfishness. Well, I am brought to my senses. God has been very good to me this day. He has saved me from there is but one thing for me to do you bade me leave you to-morrow." :

:



:

:

:

!









*'

I

was

" No

cruel." ;

But

I will

be

I shall

turning pale.

''Ay! thing

for to-night I a,m strong

may be weak. thrusts me on the

morrow

I

morrow everything

Do

will

not cry, beloved one

a hard

fight

:

weak, then

is

weaker than you, to said

but this

:

is

my

ms'^

the time

is

have been shame, be it I

hour of strength.

from heaven shows me

A

my

path. I am full of passion, but, like you, I have honor. You are RaynaFs wife and light



Rajmal saved my life." *'Ah! is it possible?

—may Heaven

bless

When? where?

him

for

it

" !



" So you see you were right this is no little master of himself as I am. I shall go to-night." "It is so late —:too late to get a conplace for one so

veyance." I need none to carry m\^ sword, '•'

epaulets,

and m\' love

for you.

my

I shall

go on foot." Josephine raised no more objections she walked slower and slower. "Thank you, beloved one," said CaAnd so the unfortunate pair came mille. along creeping slowly with drooping heads toward the gate of the Pleasance. There their last walk in this world must end. Many a man and woman have gone :

to the scaffold with hearts less

more hopeful than

heavy and

theirs.

"Dry your

eyes, Josephine. They are out on the Pleasance." "No, I will not dr^' my eyes," cried Josephine, almost violently. "I care for nothing now." The baroness, the doctor, and Laure, were all in the Pleasance; and as the pair came in every eye was bent on Joseall

phine.

She felt this, and at another time it would have confused her but the cold recklessness of despondency was on her. Camille, on the other hand, spite of his deep misery, felt a shudder of mis;

giving.

wise.

go to-night." To-night, Camille ? " cried Josephine,

wiser. *•'

verj'^

not cruel

!

167

for the other to be strong.

:

self-denjing-

LIES.

my

an I am the g-uardian flg-hting- for France be just, be of his honor and my own generous, be

;

and

;

ho'aest soldier, absent,

is



:

—to-

To-night everyright path. To-

draw me from

—you and

we must be true

T

it.

have

allies

" They are all looking out for us," said he to himself he had a vague, unreasonable fear that they suspected him thought Josephine unsafe in his company. He stood with downcast e^'^es. Nobody took any notice of him. The baroness with a trembling voice said to Josephine " Come with me, my poor child ; " and drew her apart. :



— ;

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

168

Laure followed them with her eyes bent on the ground. The doctor paced up and down with a sad and troubled face. Even he took no notice of Camille. So at last Camille came to him, and said

''Monsieur, the time is come that I must once more thank you for all your goodness to me, and bid you farewell." "What, are you g^oing- before your streng-th

re-established

is

?

"

!

!

!

!

"You saw

the

draw her

baroness

aside."

"Y-yes." " By this time she knows all." " Monsieur, you torture me. In Heav" en's name what do you mean ? !

"

you do not know the calamhas fallen upon our beloved Josephine on the darling- of the house." Camille turned cold with apprehension. But he said faintly " No tell me for Heaven's sake, tell I forgot

;

ity that



:

!

;



me!"

"My

poor friend," said

"her husband

solemnly,

how

the sad

"Picard the notary broug-ht us the Moniteur, and there was poor Rajmal among- the killed in a cavalry skirmish and oh my friend, would you believe it? there was another Raynal in this same action a Colonel Ra^^nal. He was onlj^ wounded but Commandant Rajmal our Raynal, our hero, our benefactor, our mainstay must be killed. Ah we are unfortunates You share our sorrow, colonel ? He was an old comrade " of yours—poor fellow " He saved my life.'^ Camille's eyes never left his feet. " Excuse me, colonel I must go to my poor friend the baroness. She had a mother's love for him who is no more well she might." St. Aubin went away, and left Dujardin standing there like a statue, his eyes still glued to the ground at his feet. The doctor was no sooner out of sight, than Camille raised his eyes furtive]3^ like a guilty person, and looked irresolutely this way and that at last he went in and got his cap, then came out again and went back to the place where he had looked meditated suicide and murder down at it a long while then looked up to heaven then fell suddenly on his knees and so remained till nightfall. Then he came back to the chateau. He said to himself " And it is too



!





;





!

!

** I am out of all danger, thanks to your skill." " Colonel, at another time I should insist upon your sta3'ing a day or two long-er but now— ah colonel, you came to a happy house, but you leave a sad " one. Poor Madame Raynal " " Monsieur ;

while the doctor told him

news had come.

the is

doctor,

dead!"

!

;

:

:







:

late to

He went

go away to-night."

Nobody was there Aubin. At sight of

softly into the saloon.

but Laure and St.

him Laure

rose and left the room. She returned in a few minutes, and rang the bell, and ordered some supper to be brought up for Colonel Dujardin. "You have not dined," said she, coldl3\

CHAPTER XXVin.

"I was Camille looked

all

realized nothing at first

:

he

confused in the doctor's face, Then after a while he

afraid

3'ou

were gone

alto-

" He

me You

gether," said the doctor.

he was going

told

this evening, Laure.

"What? Who? Dead?"

had better stay quiet another day or two," added he, kindly. "Do you think so? " said Camille, tim-

"Raj'nal has been

idly.

and was said

silent.

:

killed in action."

A red flush came to his

ej'^es

very

went down

feet,

Camille's face, and to the g-round at his

nor did he once raise them

The baroness drew Josephine tried to

aside,

break to her the sad news

;

and but

;

:

WHITE her own grief overcame her, and burstinto tears she bewailed the loss of her son. Josephine was greatly shocked. Death Raynal dead her true, kind friend dead her benefactor dead. She clung to her mother's neck, and sobbed with her. Presently she withdrew her face and suddenly hid it in both her hands. She rose and kissed her mother once more, and went to her own room; and then, though there was none to see her, she hid her wet but burning cheeks in her hands. Josephine confined herself for some da3's to her own room, leaving it only to go to the chapel in the park, where she spent hours in prayers for the dead and ing-

!







Her *Hender

self-humiliation.

in

con-

science" accused herself bitterly for not having loved this gallant spirit more than she had. Camille, too, was not free from selfreproach. He said to himself " Did I wish him :

dead ? thought

I

hope I never formed such a

I don't remember ever wishing him dead." And he went twice a day to that place by the stream, and thought very solemnly what a terrible thing ungoverned passion is and repented not eloquently, but silently, sincerely. But soon his impatient spirit !

;



began

to

torment

itself

Why did

again.

Josephine shun him now ? Ah she loved Raynal now that he was dead. Women love the thing they have lost so he had heard say. In that case the very sight of him would of course be odious to her he could understand that. The absolute unreasoning faith he once had in her had been so rudely shaken by her marriage with Raynal, that now he could only believe just so much as he saw, and he saw that she shunned him. !

;

He became moody,

sad, and disconso-

and as Josephine shunned him, so he avoided all the others, and wandered for hours by himself, perplexed and miserable. After a while, he became conscious that he was under a sort of surveillance. Laure de Beaurepaire, who had been so kind to him when he was confined late

;

LIES. to his

169

own room, but had taken little him since he came down, now re-

notice of

sumed her care of him, and evidently made it her business to keep up his heart. She used to meet him out walking in a mysterious wa\% and, in short, be always falling in with him [and trying to cheer him up, with very partial success.

CHAPTER XXIX. Edouard Riviere retarded his care by an impatient spirit but he got well at last, and his uncle drove him in the cabriolet to his own quarters. He had received one letter from Laure, one from the baroness, and two from St. Aubin and in these letters the news of the house had been told him, but, of course, in so vague and general a waj' that, thinking ;

he knew all, in reality he knew nothing. Josephine had married Ra^'nal. The marriage was sudden, but no doubt there was an attachment he believed in sudden attachments he had some reason to. Colonel Dujardin, an old acquaintance, had come back to France wounded, and the good doctor had undertaken his cure this incident appeared neither strange nor anyway important. What affected him most deeply was the death of Raynal, his personal friend and patron. But when his tj^rants, as he called the surgeon and his uncle, gave him leave to go home, all feelings were overpowered by his great joy at the prospect of seeing Laure. He walked over to Beaurepaire, his arm in a :

:

:

sling, his heart beating.

He

coming had done,

v/as

to receive the reward of all he

he had attempted. " I will surprise them," thought he. " I will see her face when I come in at the door Oh happy hour this pays for all." He entered the house without announcing himself he went softly up to the saloon to his great disappointment he found no one

and

all

:

!

;

;



;

-

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

170

but the baroness she received him kindbut not with the warmth lie expected. She was absorbed in her new g-rief. He asked timidly after her daughters. ** Madame Raynal bears up, for the sake of others. You will not, however, see her she keeps her room. My daughter Laure After some is taking- a walk, I believe." polite inquiries, and sympathy with his accident, the baroness retired to indulg-e her g-rief, and Edouard thus liberated ran in search of his beloved. He had not far to g-o. He met her at the g-ate of the Pleas ance, but not alone. She was walkingwith an officer a handsome, command;

ly,

:



She was

ing, haug-ht}', brilliant officer.

walking-

by

his side, talking- earnestly to

him.

'' Never mind do you expect me to re; gret it ? " " Laure, I am a very bad woman " *' Are you, dear? hook this for me." *' Yes, love But I sometimes think you would forgive me, if you knew how hard I pray to be better. Laure, I do try so to be as unhappy as I ought ; but I can't I can't My heart seems as dead to unhappiness, as once it was to happiness ; am I a heartless woman, after !



!



all?" '*Not altogether," said Laure, dryly. " Fasten my collar, dear and don't torment yourself. You have suffered much and nobly. It was Heaven's will you bowed to it. It was not Heaven's will that you should be blighted altogether. Bow in this, too, to Heaven's will take things as they come, and cease to try to ;

:

;

An

arrow of ice shot through youngRiviere and then came a feeling- of death ;

new symptom in

at his heart, a

his

young

life.

The next moment Laure caug-ht sight and uttered a little exclamation, and she bounded toward him like a little antelope, and put out both her hands at once. He could of him.

She flushed

all over,

only give her one. ^'Ah!" she cried, with an accent of heavenly pity, and took his hand with

reconcile feelings that are too opposite to live

together."

" Ah! these are such comfortable words, Laure but mamma will see this dreadful color in my cheek, and what can I say to ;

her

?

"

" Ten to one it will not be observed and, if it should, I will say it is the excitement of seeing Edouard. Leave all to

me." Josephine greeted Edouard most affec-

drew from him his whole hisand petted him and sympathized with him deliciously, and made him the

both hers.

tionately,

This was like the meridian sun coming suddenlj^ on a cold place. His misgivings could not stand against it. When Josephine heard he was come, her eye flashed, and she said, quickly

tory,

:

come down to welcome him " dear Edouard The sisters looked at one another. Josephine blushed. Laure smiled and *'

I will

!

She colored higher still. the time came, Josephine hesi-

kissed her.

When tated.

"

I

hero of the evening. Camille, who was not naturally of a jealous temper, bore this very well at first but at last he looked so bitter at her neglect of hiin, that Laure took him aside to soothe him. Edouard, missing the auditor he most valued, and seeing her in secret conference with the brilliant colonel, felt a return of the jealous pangs that had seized him at first sight of the man and so they played at cross-purposes. At another period of the evening the conversation became more general, and Edouard took a dislike to Colonel Dujar;

;

am ashamed

to

go down."

*'Why?" Look at my face " "I see nothing wron^ with

**

!

!

it, except that it eclipses other people's there is that inconvenience." "Oh yes, dear Laure look what a color it has, and a fortnight ago it was pale as ashes." :

:

A

young man of twenty - eight nearly always looks on a bo.y of twentyone with the air of a superior, and this assumption, not being an ill-natured one, is apt to be so easy and so undefined, that din.

— ;

WHITE the young-er hardly knows how to resent or to resist it. But Edouard was a little and the colonel jarred vain, as we know quick, haug-hty eye His him terribly. jarred him regimentals His him. jarred ;

:

His mustache and his manner jarred him and, worst

they

fitted

like a g-love.

;

of all, his cool familiarity with Laure,

who

seemed to court him rather than be courted by him. He put this act of Laure's to the colonel's account, according to the custom of lovers, and revenged himself in a small waj^ by telling- Josephine in her ear, " that the colonel produced on his mind the effect of a puppy." Josephine colored up, and looked at him with a momentary surprise she said ** Military men do give themquietly selves some airs but he is very amiable at bottom at least so Laure says— so they all say. You must make acquaintance with him, and then he will reveal to you his nobler qualities." '' Oh, I have no particular desire," sneered Edouard. Josephine said nothing, but soon after she quietly turned Edouard over to St. Aubin, while she joined Laure, and under cover of her had a sweet, timid chat with her falsely accused. This occupied the two so entirely, that Edouard made his adieus to the baroness, and marched off in dudgeon unobserved. Laure missed him first, but said noth;

:





LIES.

171

"Yes, dear,"

fender a kiss.

words, " he is a dear and he is not cross, nor so very vain, poor boy now don't you what it was ? " ;



see

*

"No." "Yes, you

do, you little cunning thing: are too shrewd not to see everything." "No, indeed, Josephine do tell me

3"ou



me waiting ? " "Well then—jealous " " Jealous ? Oh, what fun—who

don't keep

!

When

Josephine saw he was g"one, she little exclamation, and looked at Laure. Laure put on a mien of haughty indifference, but the water was in her uttered a

e^'^es.

Josephine looked sorrowful. When they talked over everything tog-ether at night, she reproached herself. behaved ill to poor Edouard; we neglected him." " He is a little, cross, ill-tempered fellow," said Laure, pettishly.

"We

"Oh no! no!" "And as vain as

a peacock." Laure, in this house has he not some right to be vain?" " Yes no. I am very angry with him. I won't hear a word in his favor," said Laure, pouting- then she g-ave his de*'



:

!

of

?

Of

Little goose " Camille ? Ha ha " And, Laure, I almost think he would be jealous of any one that occupied your attention. I Avatched him." "All the better, I'll torment my lord." " Heaven forbid you should be so cruel." "Oh, I will not make him unhappy, but it is not in nature I'll tease him a little not to." This foible detected in her lover, Laure was very gay at the prospect of amuse!

!

!

:

ment

afforded her.

it

And

have many readers who are awaiting unmixed enjoyment and hilarity from the same I think I

moment

at this

source.

"Ah!" Edouard called the next da.y he wore a gloomy air. Laure met this with a par:

on this Edouard's himself again agreeable as this was, Laure felt a little disappointed. " I am afraid he is not jealous, after all," thought she. Josephine left her room this day and mingled once more with the famih^ The bare sight of her was enough for Camille at first but after a while he wanted more, He wanted to be often alone with her but several causes co-operated to make her shy of giving him many such opportuniFirst her natural delicacy coupled ties. with her habit of self-denial, then her fear of shocking her mother, and lastly her fear of her own heart, and of Camille, whose power over her she knew. For Camille, when he did get a sweet word alone with her, seemed to forget everything except that she was his betrothed, and that he had come back alive to marry ticularly cheerful one

;

face cleared up, and he

ing.

said Jose-

phine, answering the kiss, and ignoring- the

was

;



y

"

I

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

172

He spoke to her of his love with an ardor and an urgency that made Her thrill with happiness, and at the same time shrink with a certain fear and self-reproach. Possessed with a feeling- no strong-er than hers, but single/he did not comprehend the tunmlt, the trouble, the daily contest in her heart. The wind seemed to him to be always chang-ing", and hot and cold the same hour. Since he did not even see that she was acting in hourly fear of her mother's eye, he was little likely to penetrate her more hidden sentiments and then he had not touched her key-note self-denial. Women are self-denying and uncandid. Men are self-indulgent and outspoken. And this is the key to a thousand double misunderstandings ; for good women are just as stupid in misunderstanding" men, as good men are in misunderstanding-

her.

;



women. To Camille, Josephine's

be agreeable to Madewalk with him at the

it

moiselle Laure to

usual hour? " ''Certainly," said Laure. As Jacintha was retiring Edouard called to her to stop a minute. "May I beg you to reconsider that determination ? " said he to Laure, politely. " What determination ? "

"To jardin

sacrifice ?

"

me

fluctuations,

tremors, love, terror, modesty, seemed one g-rand total caprice. The component parts of it he saw not and her caprice tortured him almost to madness. Too penitent to give way again to violent passion, he fretted. His health retrograded, and his temper began to sour. The eye of timid love that watched him with maternal anxiety from under its long lashes saw this with dismay and Laure, who looked into her sister's bosom, devoted herself once more to soothe him without compromising Josephine's delicacy. Hence arose mystification No. 3. Riviere's natural jealous}^ being once awakened found constant food in the attention Laure paid Camille. The false position of all the parties brought about some singular turns. I give from their number one that forms a link, though a small one, in my narrative. One day, Edouard found Laure alone in the Pleasance she received him with a radiant smile, and they had a charming talk, a talk all about him ; what the family'' owed him, etc. On this, his late jealousj^ and sense of injury seemed a thing of three j^ears ago, and never to return. Jacintha came with a message from the ;



to this Colonel I)u-

still politely,

Laure opened her

only a e3^es.

little

grimly.

" Are you

" inquired she, with quiet hauteur. "Neither mad nor a fool," was the re" I love you too well to share your ply. regard with any one, upon any terms; least .of all upon these, that there is to be a man in the world, at whose beck and call 3'ou are to be, and at whose orders you are to break off an interview with me.

mad ?

Perdition

!

"Edouard, what

joys,

;

" Would

colonel,

pect

me

know not what. join us, that is little

Can

folljM

j'ou sus-

of discourtesy, as well as of



Colonel Dujardin will all, and we shall take a

walk with him."

"Not

I; I decline the intrusion: you are engaged with me, and I have things to say to 3^ou that are not fit for that

puppy to hear. Choose therefore between me and him, and choose forever." Laure colored, but smiled. "I should be very sorry to choose either of you forever, but for this afternoon I choose you."

"Oh, thank you — my whole prove

life

shall

my

gratitude for this preference." Laure beckoned Jacintha, and sent her with an excuse to Captain Dujardin. She then turned with an air of mock submis" I am at monsieur's sion to Edouard. orders.'^

Edouard, radiant with triumph, and good - natured, thanked her again and again for her condescension in setting his heart at rest. He proposed a walk, since his interference had lost her She yielded a cold assent. This one. vexed him, but he took for granted it would wear off before the end of tlie waik. Edouard's heart bounded, but he loved her too sincerely to be happy unless he could see her happy too the malicious thing saw this, or perhaps knew it by in-

naturally

:



;

WHITE stinct,

and by means

of this g-ood feeling

of his she reveng-ed herself for his tyranny.

She tortured him as only a woman can and as even she can torture only a worthj'^ man, and one who loves her. In the course of that short walk this inexperienced g'irl, strong in the instincts and inborn arts of her sex, drove pins and needles, needles and pins, of all sorts and sizes, through her lover's heart. She was everything by turns, except kind and nothing for long together. She torture,



was

was

peevish, she

ostentatiousl}'" pa-

tient and submissive, she was inattentive to her companion, and seemingl3^ wrapped

up

in

contemplation of absent things and

the colonel, to wit. She was dogged, repulsive, and as cold as ice and she never was herself a single moment. The3'- returned to the gate of the Pleasance. "Well, mademoiselle," said " that interloper Riviere, very sadl}'-, persons,

might as well have been with us." " Of course he might, and you would have lost nothing by permitting me to be courteous to a guest and an invalid. If you had not played the t3'rant, and taken the matter into j'^oUr own hands, I should have found means to soothe your zeal, your vanit}^ but you preferred to have your own way.' Well, you have had it." "Yes, mademoiselle, you have given me a lesson you have shown me how idle it is to attempt to force a young lad^^'s inclinations in anything. I shall not however offend again for I am going away." "Oh, are you? " She did not believe :

;

;

him. " Yes, mademoiselle. I

am s orry to say

" Sorry j'ou are promoted ? " " I mean I was sorry this morning; because my new post is ten leagues from Beaurepaire ; but now I am not sorry, for, were I to stay here, I foresee you would soon lose whatever friendly feeling j^ou have for me." ^"?^ "I am, then, vtiy changeable. I am not considered so," remonstrated Laure, Riviere explained

"I

your time and your regard with Colonel Dujardin, or with a much better

man." "Monsieur,"

Then she

began

Laure,

angrily.

"Monsieur Edoukindl}'', "if j'ou were not

reflected.

ard," said she,

going to leave us (only for a time, I trust), I should be angr^-, and let you think any nonsense, and so vex yourself and affront me, monsieur but it is no time for teasing you my friend, be reasonable be just to yourself and me do not give way to ridiculous fancies do not raise to a false importance this poor man, who is nothing to you, nothing to me, upon my honor." "Dear Mademoiselle Laure," said Edouard, " see what this person, who, after 3'our words, I am bound to believe is indifferent to you, has done. He has made me arrogant and imperious to you. Was " I ever so before? :

:



:

"No!

no! no! and I forgive you now, poor friend." " He has made you cold as ice to me ? " " No that was my own wickedness and

my

!

spitefulness."

" Wickedness, spitefulness they are not in your nature. It is all this wretch's doing." Laure sighed, but she said nothing: for she saw that to excuse Camille would only make the jealous one more bitter against him. " Will j'-ou deign to write to me at my new post ? once a month ? in answer to !

my

letters?

"

my

friend.

But you

will

ride

over sometimes to see us." "Oh yes: but for some little time I shall not be able. The duties of a new post." "I understand well, then in a fortnight or so?"



"Sooner perhaps

man

is out



— the

of the house."

moment

that

'

CHAPTER XXX.

, ,

am

not vain, no man less so, nor am I jealous but I respect myself, and I could never be content :

X73

to share

"Yes, I

am promoted."

gently.

LIES.

:

"Laure, with him at

dear, all

you have not walked

to-day."

"

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

174

you must pet him yourself tohate the sig"ht of him." ** What has he done?" ** He has done nothingbut it has made *'!N"o:

day.

I

:

mischief between Edouard and me, my being" so attentive to him. Edouard is

and

cannot wonder. After all, what right have I to mystify him who honors me with his affection ? " Then, being pressed with questions by Josephine, she related to her all that had passed between Edouard and her, word for word. Josephine. " Poor Camille " jealous,

I

!

Laure. " Oh yes poor Camille who has the power to make us all miserable, and who does it, and will do it, until he is !

!

happy himself." *'Ah! would to Heaven I could make him as happy as he deserves to be." " You could easily do that. And why not do it ? " " Laure, you know very well what sacred feelings withhold me. Laure, tell me, do you think it is really possible Camille does not really know vay heart, and all the feelings that strive in it ? " '* My sister, these men are absurd they believe only what the}'^ see. I have done what I can for you and Camille but it is :

;

useless.

Would you have him believe you

you must 3"ourself be kind to and it would be a charitable action ^3^ou would make four unhappy people

love him,

him



;

happ3% or at least put them on the road

now I

thej^ are off the road, and, b3^

have seen to-day,

so a to

little

longer,

return.

sake

it

what

if we g-o on be too late to try

I think,

will

Come, Josephine,

for

my

"

**No! I will not stay. There, the crime is mine." Laure returned the next minute. "There," she cried, he is going" *•'

away." Josephine started. " Going" away ? Impossible

" Yes

he

!

*'Ah! 3'^ou say this out of kindness to me and to me alone." " No, indeed, I am thinking" of myself. He will make us all miserable for life if he is not made happy directl3\" " If I thought that, I could almost con-



sent."

be happy yourself ? " "I will remonstrate with him for his unkindness to me in being miserable."

his room, packing-

I spied

up his through the old

place and saw him. He was sighing" like a furnace as he strapped his portmanteau.



I hate him but I was sorry for him. I could not help being." Josephine turned pale, and lifted her

hands

in surprise

"Depend on

and disma3\

Josephine, we are Laure, firmly: "these wretches will not stand our nonsense above a certain time— and the}'' are right. My sister, we are mismanaging one gone the other g-oing both losing faith in us." Josephine's color returned to her cheek, and then mounted high. Presently she smiled, a smile full of conscious power and furtive complacency. "He will not go." Laure was pleased, but not surprised, to hear her sister speak so confidently, for she knew her power over Camille. "That is right. Go to him, and say two words, I bid 3'ou stay.' "

wrong,"

it,

said

:





'

"Oh

Laure! no!"

" Poltroon

down on

!

You know he would go

and stay directly." should blush all my life before I should let 3'^ou and him. I could not. him go sooner, almost. Oh no I will never ask a man to stay who wishes to " No

:

his knees, I

!

leave me."

!

is in

thing's to g"o;

" !



but you said just now " Laure, dear, go to him, and say Madame Ra3'nal is going to take a little walk will he do her the honor to be her companion ? Not a word more, if you love me." "I go! Hypocrite 'of

"Well

!

:

"To



Josephine, I will g-o and you say." **

"Stay, Laure."

tell

him what

Josephine received Camille with a bright

She was in «ii jsuall3" good spirits, and overflowing with kin.dness and innocent affection. On this his gloomy brow relaxed, and all his prospects brightened

smile.

"

:

WHITE Then she communicated to him a number of little plans for next week and the week after. Among the rest he was to g*o with her and Laure to Frejus. " Such a sweet place, Camille I must " show it you. You will come ? He hesitated a single moment a moment of intense anxiety to the smiling as by magic.

:

:

Josephine.



*' Yes he would come it was A great temptation he saw so little of her." "You will see more of me now, Ca!



mille *'

if

in

He

her hand and devoured

seized

it

kisses.

" Foolish Camille " murmured she, looking down on him with ineffable ten" Should I not be always with derness. my inclination ? let me consulted you if I !

go."

"No!

consult your inclination a

little

longer."

;

—humph

for

"

directly.

handkerchief ? Do but offer to put your hand upon them, away they bound that moment twenty yards, and then stand quite still, and look at your hand and j'ou, with great inquiring, suspicious, tender eyes.

So Josephine stared at Camllle's audacious proposal. "Never mention such a thing to me again or, I will not walk with you any more " then she thrilled with pleasure

What have

I

done?"

asked she, with an air of great innocence. " You have made me happy, me who adore j'ou." Josephine came in from her walk with a high color and beaming eyes. " Run, Laure " !

this concise,

clear instruction,

secret stair. gravel}'

and to us not very Laure slipped up the

She saw Camille come in unpack his little portman-

and dispose his things in the drawers with soldierlike neatness, and hum- an agreeable march. She came and told Josephine. teau,

"Ah!"

said Josephine, with a

little

sigh of pleasure, and a gentle triumph in

her eyes.

She had not only got her desire, but had arrived at it her way woman's waj

—roundabout.

:

obnoxious idea, "she Camille's " and colored all over with rage, Camille thought. He promised submissively not to renew the topic no more he did till next day. The interval Josephine had spent in thinking of it. Therefore she was prepared to put him down by calm reasons. She proceeded to do so, gently, but firmly. Lo and behold, what does he do, but meets her with just as many reasons, and just as calm ones and urges them gently but firml\\ Heaven had been very kind to them w^hy should they be unkind to themselves ? They had had a great escape why not accept the happiness, as, being persons of honor, the}'' had accepted the misery ? with manj'- other arguments, differing in other things, but agreeing in this, that they were all sober, grave, and full of at the wife

I

"For what?

and

At the third delicious interview Camille Dujardin begged Josephine to be his wife

:

" Must I ? " " Yes that shall be your punishment

On

tion.

you wish it," replied an off-hand, indifferent

way. with

:

der restraint in public, melted together all the more in their stolen interviews. Much that passed between these true lovers may well be left to the imagina-

bodies fixed like statues on pedestals, crane out their graceful necks for sugar, or bread, or a chestnut, or a pocket-

day— alone,

mean?" yes,

She and Camille were now together day and their hearts, being un-

every-

I

!

"Oh

175

Have 3'^ou noticed those half-tame deer that come up to you in a park so lovingly, with great tender e^^es, and, being now almost within reach, stop short, and, with

Shall I see you every

Josephine,

LIES.



This adroit benevolence than she bargained for.



;

:

common led

to

more



!

sense.

Finding him not defenseless on the score of reason, she shifted her ground and ap-

"

;



WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

176

pealed to his delicacy. On this he appealed to her love, and then calm reason was jostled off the field, and passion and sentiment battled in her place. In these contests, day by day renewed, Camille had many advantages. Laure, though she did not like him, had now declared on his side. She refused to show him the least attention. This threw him on Josephine ; and when Josephine beg-g-ed her to help reduce Camille to reason, her answer would run thus " H^'pocrite " with a kiss or else she would saj'-, with a half-comic petulance :

:

!

:

"No! his



no!

I

own way

am on

Give him make us all four

his side.

or he will

miserable." Thus Josephine's ally went over to the

enemy.

And

then this coy young" lady's very

power of resistance beg-an to g"ive way. She had now battled for months ag-ainst her own heart first, for her mother then, in a far more terrible conflict for Ra3'nal, for honor and purity and of late she had been battling, still against :

;

her own heart, for delicacy, for etiquette, things very dear to her, but not so great, hoi}'-, and sustaining as honor and charity and that were her very household gods so, just when the motives of resistance were lowered, the length of the resistance began to wear her out. For nothing is so hard to her sex as a long, steady struggle. In matters physical, this is the thing the muscles of the fair cannot stand. In matters intellectual and moral, the long strain it is that beats them dead. Do not look for a Bacona, a Newtona, a Handella, a Victoria Huga. Some American ladies tell us education has stopped the growth of these. No mesdames. These are not in nat:

,

!

ure.

They can bubble letters in ten minutes that you could no more deliver to order in ten days than a river can play like a fountain. They can sparkle gems of stories the^^ can flash little diamonds of poems. The entire sex has never produced one opera nor one epic that mankind could tolerate a minute and why ? :

:

—these But,

come by long, weak as they are

high-strung' labor. in the long run of

everj^thing but the affections (and there giants), they are all overpowering while their gallop lasts. Ffagilla shall dance

any two of a^ou flat on the floor before four o'clock, and then dance on till peep of day.

You

trundle off to your business as and could dance again the next night, and so on through countless ages. She who danced you into nothing is in bed, a human jelly crowned with headusual,

ache.

What did Josephine say to Laure one day ? "I am tired of saying No no no no no for ever and ever to him I love." She added, combining two lead*

!

!

!

!

!

'

ing ideas in one phrase as it is not given the rude logical sex to do, " I am weary of all this cruelty."

But this was not all. She was not free from self-reproach. Camille 's faith in her had stood firm. Hers in him had not. She had wronged him, flrst by believing him false, then b}'- marrying another. One day she asked his pardon for this.

He

replied

:

" I have forgiven that, Josephine ; but why not make me forget it ? " "I wish I could." " You can. Marry me then your relations with that man will seem but a hideous dream. I shall be able to say, looking at you my wife ' I was faithful I suffered something for her I came home she loved me still the proof is, she was my wife within three months of :









my return.' When he said ance,

if

that to her in the Pleasthere had been a priest at hand

In a word Josephine longed to show him her love, yet wished not to shock her mother, or offend her own sense of delicacy. Camille cared for nothing but h^s love. To sacrifice love and happiness, even for a time, to etiquette, seemed to him to be trifling with the substance of great things for the shadow of petty things; and he

sometimes sadly, sometimes almost bitterl3^ Here then was a beleaguered fortress attacked with one will, and defended by said so

:

"

WHITE troops one-third of which were hot on the side of the besieg-er. Here was a heart divided against itself, attacked by a single heart. When singleness attacks division, you then know the result beforehand. should I spin words ? I will not trace so ill-matched a contest, step by step, sentence by sentence ; let me rather hasten to relate the one peculiarity that arose out of this trite contest, where, under the names of Camille and Josephine, the two great sexes may be seen acting the old world-wide distich,

Why

LIES.

177

" There, you see, Camille ; and I could not defy m^'- mother even for you." Camille sighed. " I see ever^ahing is against me, even my love for that love is too much akin to veneration to propose to you a clandestine marriage." " Oh, thank 3'ou bless you for respecting as well as loving me, dear Camille." These words, uttered with gentle warmth, were some consolation to Camille, and confirmed him, as they were intended to do, in the above good reso-



:

!

He

lution.

smiled.

"Maladroit !"

man's part to try, And a woman's to deny,"

"It's a

Finding

her

own

[for

a while?]

oozing

resolution

away, Josephine taught at another person.

She said to Camille, before Laure **Even if I could bring myself to snatch :



at happiness in this indelicate way scarce a month after oh '' And there ended the lady's sentence. In the absence of a legitimate full stop, she put one hand before her lovely face to hide it, and so no more. But some two minutes after she delivered the rest in the form and with " My the tone of a distinct remark never consent." mother would " Yes, she would, if j'^ou could be brought to implore her as earnestly as I implore you." " Would she, Laure ? " asked Josephine, turning quickly to her sister. " No, never Our mother would look with horror on such a proposal. A daughter of hers to marry within a twelvemonth of her widowhood."



!



:

!

" There, you see, Camille." "But, besides that, she loved Raynal." " She has not forgotten him as we have,

almost."

"Ungrateful creature sighed Josephine.

that

I

am,"

" She mourns for him ever}'^ day. Often her eyes suddenly All—^-that is for him. Josephine's influence with mamma is very great it is double mine but if we all went on our knees to her the doctor and all she would never consent." I see

:

:





(L)

cried Laure. "Whj'^ maladroit f ^' asked Camille, opening his eyes. "Let us talk of something else," replied Laure, coolly.

Camille turned red. He understood that he had done something very stupid, but he could not conceive what. He looked from one sister to the other alternately. Laure was smiling ironically.

Josephine had her eyes bent demurely on a handkerchief she was embroidering.

That

evening

Camille

drew

Laure

aside.

" Will you be so generous as to explain why you called me maladroit ? " "So it was," replied Laure, sharply. But as this did not make the matter quite clear, Camille begged a little further explanation.

"

Was

it

3^our part to

make

difficul-

ties?" " No, indeed."

"Was it for you to tell her a secret marriage would not be delicate ? Do 3^ou think she will be behind you in delicac3' ? or, that a love without respect will satisfy her ? yet you must go and tell her you respected her too much to ask her to marry you secretly. In other words, situated as she is, you asked her not to marry

j'ou at all

What

directly.

:

she consented to that

else could

"Maladroit! indeed," "but I would not have thought

"You



you expect?" said

said

Camille, only I

it,

thou"-ht nothin°: would induce

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

178

her to marry

secretlj^, so you said to assume a virtue I will do

yourself, I will

:

a bit of cheap self-denial decline to the sound of trumpets what another will be sure to deny me if I don't ha ha well, for your comfort, I am by no means so sure she mig-ht not have been broug-ht to do anything for you, except openly defy mamma but now of course." Here this j^oung- lady's sentence ended for there was a strong" grammatical likeness between the sisters. Camille was so disconcerted and sad at what he had done, that Laure beg-an to pity him so she rallied him a little long-er in spite of her pity and then all of a sudden g-ave him her hand and said she would try and repair the mischief. He began to smother her hand with

" Yes but nothing know what to do." !

!

!

:

:

:

;

kisses. *' Oh, "said she, "I don't deserve all that I have a motive of my own your unlucky speech will be quoted to me a dozen times ^never mind." :

:



happy

Josephine, you will not be you don't, no more will he." '*

if

Josephine sighed. '* You heard what he said ? " " Oh, that was onlj^ to please you. He thought nothing. would tempt you to do

much

for him." would do anything for him but lose his respect, and make my mother un-

so

"

I

happy.'*

"Well,

you

love,

shall scarcely

move

do not oppose

me

shall

do neither: you matter only

in the

:

very violenth^, and

all

will be well."

" Ah

!

!

I

know how

Am I not fortunate tle

who

to

is

—terrible, I

j'^ou

have a

so shrewd

love me,

sister ? it is

who de-

mean— to have

a litcreature about one that reads one like

lightful this.

What

all

the

circumstances.

Consider,

his

wound is healed. He must go back to the army you have both suffered to the :

mortal endurance. Is he to go away unhappy, in any doubt of your affection ? are you to remain behind with misery of self-reproach added to the desolation of absence ^think." " Dear Laure Find me some excuse for deceiving my mother." "Do not say deceiving our mother, that is such a shocking phrase." Laure then reminded Josephine of the day when Edouard had first told them a wise reticence was not the same thing as an immoral deceit. She reminded her, too, how after thej^ had acted on his advice and always with good effect, how many anxieties and worries they had saved their mother by reticence. Joselimits of



!

!



phine assented warmh^ to this. Was there not some reason to think they had saved their mother's very life by these reticences ? Josephine assented. " And, Josephine, you are of age, you are your own mistress, you have a right to marry whom you please; and, sooner or later, you will certainly marry Camille. I doubt whether even our mother could

you to refuse him altogether.

prevail on

but a question of time, and of giving our mother pain, or sparing her pain. She is old, our dear mother: she is prejudiced. Whj'- shock her prejudices ? She could not be brought to understand the case these things never happened in her day. Everything seems to have gone by rule then. Let us do nothing to worry her for the short time she has to live. Let us take a course between pain to her and cruelty to 3'ou and Camille." These arguments went far to convince Josephine for her own heart supported them. Then Camille put in his word he proposed to the sisters to let him begin by entreating the baroness; and, if she should be inexorable, then for Josephine to marry

So

it

is

:

Laure

loves me, and

I don't

" We must do the best we can under

!



like this.

shall I

do?

What

shall I

do?"

;

" Yes, Josephine. It is very plain what we must do we must conceal it from our :

mother." *'Marr3% and hide my marriage from her who bore me ? " " We have concealed many things from her, dear, not to give her pain."

:

him

secretly.

"

Oh no "

ask her

!

if

cried Josephine, "3'ou shall

you

please, but

if

she says no

!

WHITE (and she will say no), all is ended. It is to take such a step without her sanction. Defy her I never will." ''Had you not better be silent. Colonel Maladroit! " said Laure, severelj\ "Much better!" cried the gallant

much

LIES.

factotum Dard, his groom. Camille rode over to Frejus and told a made-up story to the old cure and the mayor, and these his old friends believed every word he said, and readily promised their services

and

strict secrecy.

He

mortal terror.

colonel, hastily, in

179

told the

young

ladies

what he had

the colonel, Laure pleaded his cause then and there so abl3^, that Josephine went from her solid objections to untenable ones a great point gained. She urged the difficulty, the impossibility of a secret marriage. Camille burst into the conversation here he undertook at once to overcome these imaginary difficulties. " will be married ten leagues from here " ** You will find no priest who will consent to do such a wicked thing as marrj'us without my mother's knowledge." "Oh, as to that," said Laure, "you know the mayor marries people nowa-

The mayor awaited them at eleven The family o'clock, the cure at twelve. had been prepared for this excursion by

days." " I won't be married without a priest,"

several smaller ones. Laure announced their intention over-

said Josephine, sharply.

night.

Having

silenced



:

We

"Nor maj'^or

Camille. "I know a will do the civil forms for me,

I,"

who

said

and a priest who will marry me in the sight of Heaven, and both will keep it secret for love of me till it shall please Josephine to throw off this disguise." " Who is the priest, Camille ? " inquired Josephine, keenly. " An old cure. He lives near Frejus ; he was my tutor, and the mayor is the

mayor

of Frejus,

also

mine." " But what on earth them ? "

;

proceedings. At last the great day arrived on which Camille and Josephine were to be married at Frejus.

" Mamma," said she, blushing a little, "Colonel Dujardin is good enough to take us to Frejus to-morrow. It is a long way, and we must breakfast early, or we shall not be back to dinner." "Do so, my child. I hope you will and mind you take have a fine day plenty of wraps with you in case of a shower." ;

"

I will take care,

At seven will

you say to

mille of

:

!

;

secrecy without a fib or two." "Fibs that will injure no one," said Laure, majesticall3^

day Camille began to act as well as to talk. He bought a light caliche and a powerful horse, and elected this

Laure approved. Josephine shook her head and, seeing matters going as her heart desired and her conscience did not quite approve, she suddenly affected to be next to nobody in the business, to be resigned, passive, and disposed of to her surprise by Laure and Camille, without herself taking any actual part in their

mamma."

an old friend of

" That is my affair I must give them some reasons which compel me to keep my marriage secret. Oh, I shall have to tell them some fibs, of course." "There, look !— Camille I will not have you tell fibs— it lowers you." " Of course it does but you can't have

From

done.

o'clock the next

and the two

morning Ca-

ladies took a hasty

cup

coffee together instead of breakfast,

and then round.

Dard

brought the

caleche

The ladies got in, and Camille had just taken the reins in his hand, when Jacintha screamed to him from the Hall " Wait wait a moment a moment. Colonel The doctor don't go without the doctor " and the next moment Dr. St. Aubin appeared with his cloak on his arm, and, :

!

!

!

saluting the ladies politely, seated himself quietly in the vehicle before the party had recovered their surprise. " Where shall we have the pleasure of

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

180 taking-

his

you

?

" asked Camille, and gnawed

lip.

" To Frejus," was the reply. Camille was deJosephine quaked. voured with secret rage; he lashed the horse and away they went. The doctor It was a silent party. seemed in a reverie. The others did not

know what St.

much

to think,

less to sa^-.

Aubin sat by Camille's side so the communication ;

latter could hold no secret

with either lady. Now it was not the doctor's habit to yet rise at this time of the morning there he was, going with them to Frejus ;

uninvited.

Josephine was in agony

;

tention transpired through

had their insome impru-

dence of Camille ? Camille was terribly uneas3^ He concluded the secret had transpired through Then they all tortfemale mdiscretion. ured themselves as to the old man's in-

But what seemed most

tention.

likely

The letter informed me a diligence passed through Frejus, at eleven o'clock, for Paris. Fortunately you were going to Frejus. I packed up a few changes of linen, and my MS., my work on entomology, which at my last visit to the capital all the publishers were mad enough to refuse here it is. Apropos, has Jacintha put my bag into the carriage ? " On this a fierce foot-search, and the bag ;

was found. Meantime Josephine leaned back

in

her seat with a sigh of thankful-

She was more intent on not being found out than on being married. But

ness.

Camille, who was more intent on being married than on not being found out, was asking himself, with fury, how on earth they should get rid of St. Aubin in time. Well, of course under such circumstances as these, the coach did not come to its time, nor till long after; and all the while they were waiting for it they were failing their rendezvous with the mayor and making their rendezvous with the curate impossible. But, above all, there was the risk of one or other of those

was, that he was with them to prevent a clandestine marriage by his bare presence, without making a scene and shocking Josephine's pride and, if so, was he there by his own impulse ? No, it was rather to be feared that all this was done by order of the baroness. There was a finesse about it that looked like a woman, and the baroness was very capable of adopting such a means as this to spare her own pride and her favorite daughThe clandestine is not all sugar. ter's. more miserable party never went along, even to a wedding. After waiting a long time for the doctor to declare himself, they turned desperate, and began to chatter all manner of trifles. This had a good effect; it roused St. Aubin from his reverie, and presently to their great surprise he gave them the following piece of information *' I told you the other day that a nephew of mine was just dead a nephew I had not seen for manj' years. Well, my friends, I received last night a hasty sum-

Josephine smiled sweetly. At last he was gone but it wanted ten minutes only to twelve. Josephine inquired, amiably, whether it would not be as well to postpone matters to another day meaning forever. Camille replied b}^ dragging them both very fast to the mayor. That worth3' received them with pro^

mons

found, though

;

A

:



to his funeral."

"At Frejus?" "

No at Paris The invitation was so pressing, that I was obliged to go. !

!

coming up and blurting all out, taking for granted that the doctor must be in their confidence, or wh}^ brmg friends

him

?

At

last, at half-past eleven o'clock, to

relief, up came the coach. The doctor prepared to take his place in the interior, when the conductor politely informed him that the diligence stopped

their great

there a quarter of an hour. " In that case, I will not abandon my friends," said the doctor, affectionately. One of his friends gnashed his teeth at this

mark

of affection,

;



somewhat demure

respect,

and invited them to a table sumptuously served. The ladies, out of politeness, were about to assent, but Camille begged

:

WHITE permission to postpone that part until after the ceremony. At last, to their utter wonder, they were married. Then, with a promise to return and dine witli the mayor, they went to tlie cure. Lo and behold, he was " He had gone to visit a sick person. waited a long- time for them," said the servant. Josephine was much disconcerted, and showed a disposition to cry. The servant, a g-ood-natured girl, nosed a wedding, and offered to run and bring- his

reverence in a minute. Presently there came an old, silveryhaired man, who addressed them all as his

and seemed to mean it. He took and blessed their and for the first time Josephine

children,

them

to the church,

union felt as if Heaven consented. They took a g-entle farewell of him, and went back to the mayor's to dine and at this stage of the business, Laure and Josephine had a sudden simultaneous cry, apropos of nothing that was then occurring. This refreshed them, and they glowed at the mayor's table like roses washed with dew. But oh, how glad at heart they all were to find themselves in the carriage once more going' home to Beaurepaire. Laure and Josephine sat intertwined on the back seat Camille, the reins in his right hand, nearly turned his back on the horse, and leaned back over to them, and talked with Laure, and looked at his :

;

;

wife ineffable triumph and tenderness. The lovers were in Elysium, and Laure

was not a little proud of her good manag-ement in ending- all their troubles. Their mother received them back with great, and, as thej^ fancied, with singular affection. She was beginning- to be anxious about them, she said. Her kindness gave these happy souls a pang it never gave them before. Since the above event scarce a fortnight had elapsed but such a change. Camille sunburned and healthy, and full of animation and confidence Josephine beaming with suppressed happiness, and more beautiful than even Laure could ever remember to have seen her. For :

:

LIES.

181

a soft halo of love and happiness shone around her head a new and indefinable attraction bloomed on her face. She was a wife. Her eye, that used to glance furtively on Camille, now dwelt demurely on him dwelt on him with a sort of gentle wonder and surprised admiration as well as affection and when he came or passed near her, a keen observer mig'ht just have seen her thrill. She kept a g-ood deal out of her mother's vway for she felt within that her face must be too happy. She feared to shock her mother's grief with her radiance. :



;

;

She was ashamed

of

unmixed

feeling-

heaven. But the flood of secret bliss she floated in bore all misgiving-s away.

The pair were forever stealing- away toand on these occasions Laure was to keep out of her mother's

g-ether for hours,

sight, until they should return.

new married

So then

could wander hand and hand through the thick woods of Beaurepaire, whose fresh green leaves were now just out, and hear the distant cuckoo, and sit on moss}'' banks, and pour love into one another's eyes, and plan ages of happiness, and murmur their deep passion and their bliss almost more than mortal could do all this and more, with, out shocking- propriety. These sweet duets passed for trios for on their return Laure would be looking- out for them, or would go and meet them at some distance, and all three would go up together to the baroness, as from a joint excursion. And then, when the}'- went up to their bedrooms, Josephine would throw her arms round her sister's neck and sigh " It is " not happiness it is beatitude Meantime the baroness mourned for Raynal. Her grief showed no decrease. Laure even fancied at times she wore a gloomy and discontented look as well but on reflection she attributed that to her own fancy, or to the contrast that

the

couple

:

;

:



had now sprung up

!

in

!

her sister's beam-

ing complacency.

Laure herself, when she found herself day after day alone for hours, was sad and thought of Edouard. And this feeing gained on her day by da3^

At

last one afternoon she locked herself

!

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

182

Jacintha put him into the salle d> own room, and after a long- contest with her pride, which if not indomitable manger. " By that you will see her alone," said was next door to it, she sat down to write him a little letter. Now in this letter, in the knowing Jacintha. He sat down, hat and whip in hand, the place devoted by men to their after thoughts, by women to their pretended and wondered how he should be received. In glides Laure, all sprightliness and after thoughts, i.e., to what they have been thinking of all through the letter, good humor, and puts out her hand to she dropped a careless hint that all the him the which he kisses. " How could I keep away so long ? " party missed him very much, '' even the obnoxious colonel, who by the by has asked he, vaguely, and self-astonished. *'How indeed, and we missing you so transferred his services elsewhere. I have forgiven him that, because he has all the time " " Have you missed me ? " was the eager said civil things about you." Laure was reading her letter over inquiry. " Oh no " was the cheerful reply, again, to make sure that all the principal *' but all the that were indistinct, and the expressions rest have." composition generally, except the postPresently the malicious thing gave a script, resembled a Delphic oracle, when sudden start. ** there was a hasty footstep, and tap at Oh, such a piece of news j'ou reher door. member Colonel Dujardin the obnoxious *' Come in " and in came Jacintha, colonel ? " in her

:

!

!

:



;

No

excited.

come, Mademoiselle Laure," cried she, and nodded her head like a mandarin, only more knowingly then she added, " so you maj'^ burn the letter." For her quick eye had glanced at the '*He

is

:

table. ''

Who

his

attentions,

sir



!

" To Josephine and mamma. But such are the military. He onl3'^ wanted to get this done (through your want rid of you :

is

come

?

"

inquired

Laure,

eagerly.

one ? " asked the young lady, reddening, '' my what ? " *' The little one Edouard Monsieur





Riviere."' *• Monsieur Riviere " cried Laure, act. ing agreeable surprise. "I am so glad. Wh}'^ could you not say so 3'ou use such phrases it is impossible to conjecture who !

:

ere directly:

I will

come

mamma

scorn

he scorns the rich prize

him

" Oh yes

My

you mean.

of spirit), I

*^Why, your one." ''

answer.

" Transferred fancy " " Who to ? "

to Monsieur Rivi-

will

be so glad."

Jacintha gone, Laure tore up the letter and locked up the pieces then tore to the



glass.

Etc.

Edouard was so thoroughly miserable that he could stand it no longer so in spite of his determination not to visit Beaurepaire while it contained a rival, he rode over to see whether he had not tormented himself idly ; above all, to see the beloved face. :

"

:

so

now

—" will you come for a walk

?

"

!

We will

go and look

me now

for

my deserter.

cannot I write to the commander-in-chief about tliis ? when all is done a soldier has no right to be a deserter has he ? tell me, you are a public man, and know everything except ha I say, tell



:





ha!" " Is it not too bad to tease me to-day ? " " Yes but let me do it. I do like it so. !

Please, I have

had few amusements

of

late."

" Yes, you shall tease me. I feel I deserve no mercy." Formal permission to tease being conceded, she went that instant on the opposite tack, and began to tell him how she had missed him, and how sorry she had been anything should have occurred to vex their kind good friend. In short, Edouard spent a delightful day, for Laure took him one way to meet Josephine, who

.

WHITE

LIES.

183

When

a genuine philosopher receives prosperity

party assembled, the last embers of jealousy were quenched, for Josephine was a wife now and had already begun to tell Camille all her little innocent secrets; and she had told him all about Edouard and Laure, and had given him his orders so he treated Laure with g-reat respect before Edouard ; but paid her no marked attention also he was affable to Riviere, who, having- ceased to suspect, began to like him.

as well as adversity. One little regret escaped him that all this wealth, since it was to come, had not come one little half-year sooner. All at Beaurepaire knew what their

was coming- another.

tew one

v>iiole

:

:

In the course of the evening-, the colonel also informed the baroness that he expected every day an order to join the army of the Rhine. Edouard pricked his ears. The baroness said no more than politeness dictated. She did not press him to stay, but treated his departure as a matter of course. Riviere rode home late in the evening- in high spirits. The next day, Laure varied her late deportment she sang snatches of melodj^, g-oing about the house it was for all the world like a bird chirping-. In the middle " Hush, of one chirp Jacintha interfered. mademoiselle, j^our mamma she is at the bottom "of the corridor." " What am I thinking of ? " said Laure, " to sing " "Oh, I dare say you know, mademoiselle," replied the privileged domestic.

:

dear old friend meant. He added that the affairs would be wound up by the lawyers, and it would take twelve months. He was, therefore, free ; and they might expect him any day after this letter.

So here was another cause of rejoicing-. " I am so glad, " said Josephine. " Now perhaps he will be able to publish his poor, dear Entomology, that the booksellers

were

all

so unkind, so unfeeling-

about."

:

CHAPTER XXXI.

:

!

!

A

good news came from

letter of

was not

Aubin.

It

summons

to his

for nothing-

St.

that

nephew's funeral.

The said nephew was a rich man and an oddity one of those who love to sur;

and hate to be foreseen and calculated upon. Moreover, he had no children, and detected his nephews and prise folk

and attentive to him. ** Waiting to cut me up " was his g-enerous reading of them. So with all this he turned restive, and made a will, and there defied, as far as in him lay, the laws nieces being civil

!

of nature.

For he

ward

set his

wealth a flowing- back-

instead forward

He handed

his propertj'-

tor, instead of

down

up to an ances-

to posterity.

All this the doctor related with some in the calm spirit with which

humor, and

It was a fair morning in June the sky was a bright, deep, loveh% speckless blue :

:

the flowers and bushes poured perfume and sprinkled song- upon the balmy air. On such a day so calm, so warm, so



bright, so scented, so tuneful to be young is to be happy.

—to live and With

gentle

hand it wipes all other days out of the memorN^ it laughs, and clouds and rain and biting wind seem as far off and as impossible as g-rief and trouble. Camille and Josephine had stolen out, and strolled lazily up and down close ;

under the house, drinking the sweet air, fragrant with perfume and melody, the blue sky, and love.

Laure was in the house. She had missed them but she thought they must be near for they seldom took long walks early in the day. Meeting Jacintha on the landing of the g-reat staircase, she asked her where her sister was. " Madame Raynal is gone for a walk. Mademoiselle Laure." ;

;

"Alone?" " Oh, no, mademoiselle.

She took the



"

!

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

184

colonel with her. You know she alwaj'^s takes the colonel out with her now."

" That work."

will do.

You can

finish

your

Jacintha went into Camille's room. Laure, who had looked as grave as a judge while Jacintha was present, bubbled into laughter. She even repeated Jacintha aloud and chuckled over them " You know she always takes the colonel " out with her now ha ha ha " Laure " cried a distant voice. Laure looked round, and saw the baroness, at some distance in the corridor, coming slowly toward her, with eyes bent gloomily on the ground. Laure composed her features into a settled gravity, and :



!

!

!

!

went to meet '*

ter

I

her.

wish to speak with you,

my daugh-

!

very gently but firmly, and leaning in a peculiar way on her words, while her eye worked like an ice gimlet on her daughter's face, " a little while ago when my poor Raynal our benefactor was alive and I was happy you all chilled my happiness by your gloom the whole house seemed a house of mourning tell me now why was this ? "

— —







:



"Mammal" said Laure, after a moment's hesitation, " we could hardly be gay. Sickness in the house And if Colonel Raynal was alive, still he was absent, and in danger." " Oh, then it was out of regard for him we were all dispirited ? " " Why not ? " said Laure faintly. She !

congratulated herself that her mother's suspicion was confined to past events. " Good " said the baroness. "In that case, tell me why is it that, ever since that black day when the news of his death reached us, the whole house has gone into black, and has gone out of mourning ? " !

"Yes, mamma." " Let us sit down it is cool here." Laure ran and brought a seat without a back, but well stuffed, and set it against the wall. The old lady sat down and leaned back, and looked at Laure in silence a good while then she said " There is room for you sit down, my :

:

;

youngest." " Yes, dear mamma." " I want to speak seriously to you." " Yes, my mother what is it ? " " Turn a little round, and let me see :

mamma."

!

"Yes, mamma." " I invite you to explain to me the most singular, the most unaccountable thing that ever fell under my notice. Will you " do this for your mother ? " Oh, mamma, of course I will do anything to please you that I can but indeed I don't know what you allude to." " I am going to tell you," The old lady paused. The young one felt a chill of vague anxiety strike across her frame. "Laure," said the old lady, speaking ;

"what

:

waited to be sure So tell me. Do you hesitate ? Is it come to this, then ? has my youngest secrets from her mother ? " I said

nothing.

— and now I

" Perhaps you can guess what I am " going to say to you ? " No there are so many things." "Well, I am going to put a question to you."

Laure,



why

your face." " There,

"Mamma," stammered

do you mean ? " " Even poor Camille, who was so pale and wan, has recovered like magic." " Oh, mamma, is not that fancy ? " " Humph ? it may be or maj^ not but the rest is certain. I have seen the change: at first I doubted my senses, and that is I

sure.

mamma—pray

" Oh, scold

am

me

!

You

will

pray do not break my heart !

!

Of what do you suspect me ? Oan j'ou I think I am unfeeling, ungrateful? should not be your daughter!" "My child," said the baroness, "I have not scolded you. On the contrary, I see you attempt sorrow as you put on My Laure is too right-minded black. not to do this."

"Thank humbly. " But,

yo\x,

mamma,"

said

Laure

my

poor child, you do it with so that I see a horrible gayety breaking through that thin disguise you little

skill

:

—" WHITE

LIES.

185

are Dot true mourners you are like the mutes or the undertakers at a funeral, forced grief on the surface of your faces,

Josephine, with an accent of reproach, and a look of approval.

and

of the proudest

:

frig-htful

"Tra

complacency below."

lal la! la! Tra la! la! " caroled Jacintha, in the colonel's room hard by. The ladies looked at one another Laure

Tra

la

la! la

!

!

!

:

in

great confusion. la ''Tra la la !

la

!

la

!

!

Tra

lal

lal

!

!

la

!

" !

''Jacintha !" screamed Laure ang-rily. " Hush not a word to her," 'said the baroness ; and when Jacintha appeared on the threshold, in answer to the summons, she sent her down to do her own !

room. with her? Serv ants are like chameleons they take the tone of those they serve. Do not cry I wanted your confidence, not your tears, love. There, I will not twice in one day ask you for your heart, it would be to lower the mother, and give the daughter the pain of refusing- it, and the reg-ret, sure to come one dsbv, of having" refused :

!

I will discover the

myself.

" Oh,

am obliged to

Kiss me,

mamma

!

meaning

of

it all

youngest." mamma " m^'-

!

"There, there, dry your eyes, and go out into the garden this fine day. I shall be sure to find it out without tormenting you any more, my beloved. Stay j^ou can tell all who respect me it will be as well to try at least and mourn the death of my dear son." !

" Yes, Camille, all is lovely, all is happy; but one sad thought will come. You will leave

me."

"Not

to-day." " How like a soldier that is " "It is true," said Camille " the fact is, we are seldom sure of a day I mean when we are under arms." " Must you go at all ? Must you risk again the life on which my life depends ? " " My dear, that letter I received from headquarters two days ago, that inquiry !

am the

husband France." there is Dard on

be.

I

woman

in

" Hush not so loud the grass.". !

:

" Dard " muttered the soldier, with a world of meaning. There was a sudden silence between the lovers. Camille broke it. "Josephine," said he, a little peevishly, "how much longer are we to lower our voices, and turn away our eyes from each other, and be ashamed of our happiness?" !

"Five months longer;

is

not ?" an-

it

swered Josephine, quietly. " " Five months longer " Is this just, Camille ? Think of two months ago yes, yes, two months ago you were dying. You doubted my love, because it could not overcome my virtue and my gratitude; yet you might have seen it was destroying my life. Poor !

"Why remonstrate

it.

"I

!

!

:

my

husband, m}^ benefactor, do more for you, if not with delicacy, at least with honor; but no words and looks, and tender offices of love, were not enough, I must give stronger proof. Dear Camille, I have been reared in a strict school and perhaps none of your sex can know what it cost me to go to Frejus that day with him " I love Raynal,

died

Then

!

I could

!

:

!

"My own Josephine

" !

"

I made but one condition that you would not rob me of my mother's respect: to her, such a marriage would appear monstrous heartless. You consented to be secretly happy for six months. One fortnight has passed, and you are discon:

tented again."

" Oh, no word true.

!

do not think

so.

It is

every

am

whether my wound was cured. A hint, Josephme a hint too broad for any sol-

an ungrateful villain " You, Camille ? how dare you say so ? and to me No I have thought, and I have discovered the reason of all this " you are a man " So I have been told but my conduct to you, sweet one, has not been that of a man from first to last. Yet I could die for 3'ou, with a smile on my lips. But

dier not to take."

when

:

:



"Camille, you are very proud," said

I

!

!

!

!

!

!

:

I

legious

think that once I lifted this sacri-

hand agamst your

life

— Oh

" I

— "

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

186 ''

all

to

"

"

Do not be silly, Camille. I love you the better for loving- me well enoug-h

the truth

me." The greater shame

" Take care, Laure," said Camille, slyly, " I have just offended her by a word

kill *'

j^our husband, yet ''

Hush

me who am

of

"

:

:

wife."



:

Josephine cut him short. "Among- honorable men and women all oaths are alike sacred and Heaven's eye is in a magistrate's room as in a church. daughter of the house of Beaurepaire g-ave her hand to Captain Raynal, and called herself his wife. Therefore she was :

A

his wife,

not so loud !"

!

"Why, Dard

is

g-one,

and we are out

" The lower windows are open, and I saw Jacintha in one of the rooms." " Jacintha ? we are in awe of the very Well, if I must not say it servants !

!

!

!

say it often," and, putting his mouth to her ear, he poured a burn" My love ing whisper of love into it my angel my wife. my wife m}'^ loud, I will

!

:

!

!

and

!

is

his

She owes him

widow.

the house you are all livingin, among- the rest. She ought to be proud of her brief connection with that pure, heroic spirit, and, when she is so little noble as to disown him, then say that g-ratitude and justice have no longer a place among- mankind " " Come into the chapel," said Camille, with a voice that showed he was hurt. They entered the chapel, and there they saw something that thoroughh'- surprised them. marble monument to the memory of Ra^mal. It leaned at present ag-ainst the wall below the place prepared everything-

" of doors, will the little birds betray us?

wife

How can I tell my mother that within weeks of my husband's death ? " " Don't say your husband," put in Camille, wincing-; "the priest never confirmed that union words spoken before a magistrate do not make a marriage in the sig-ht of Heaven." six

!

are a man monseigneur is one of the lordly sex, that is accustomed to have everything quite its own way. My love, in a world that is full of misery, here are two that are condemned to be secretly happy for a few months longer a hard fate for one of your sex it seems ; but it is so much sweeter than the usual lot of mine, " that really I cannot share your misery ; and she smiled joyously. "Then share my happiness, my dear

!

She

"

—what a scoundrel

I tell 3'ou, 3^ou foolish thing-, j^ou

"Hush

long-er ?

us."

of the kind."

!

"Discontented

"

am —

from her any

will forg-ive

;

!

A

!

She turned her swimming eyes on him. " M}'^ husband " she whispered in re!

turn.

Laure came out and found them almost She looked literally billing- and cooing. into their beaming faces, and said, pettishly

The inscription, short, but to receive it. emphatic and full of feeling, told of the battles he had fought in, mcluding the last fatal skirmish, and his marriage with the heiress of Beaurepaire and, in a few soldier-like words, the uprightness, simplicity, and g-enerosity of his character. The g-irls were so touched by this unexpected trait in Camille that they threw their arms round his neck by one impulse. "Am I wrong" to be proud of him ? ;

"You must

not be so

happy, you

two!"

"We

can't help it."

" You must and shall help it Josephine, our mother has reproached me with the joy she sees around her. She sus;

pects."

" She has spoken to you ? Your eyes " are red. She has found me out ? " No not so bad as that. Come away from the house a little way, and I'll tell !

you." "After all," said Laure, as soon as they got into the park, "' why conceal

said Josephine, triumphantl3^ " You con" quered yourself here, my brave soldier " Do not praise me," said Camille, looking down confused. " One tries to be good but it is very hard to some of us not to you, Josephine and, after all, it is onlj'^ the truth that we have written on that stone. Poor Raynal he was my old !



;



;

!

;

WHITE he saved me from death, and not a soldier's death drowning- ; and he was a better man than I am, or ever shall be. Now he is dead, I can say these If I had said them when he was thing's. alive, it would have been more to my

comrade

;



credit."

Further comment was cut short by two workmen, who came in with a pail of

and fix the slab. went back towladies the and Camille as praise seemed then, and the house ard

liquid cement, to place

;

to

make Camille uncomfortable, they

urally

fell

upon the other

nat-

I

LIES.

To-morrow we shall be no longer playing a part and hiding our hearts from our dear mother. It will seem like a return to nature to be once more all open to her, as we used to be till this last, twelvemonth." Laure assented warmly to

this, and the confederates sat there waiting for the baroness. At last, as she did not come, " When the Laure rose to go to her. mind is made up it is no use being cowardly and putting off," said she firmly.

For

all that,

left in it

topic.

Laure told them all that had passed between the baroness and her. When Laure came to the actual details of that conversation, to the words, and looks, and tones, Josephine's uneasiness rose to an overpowering- height. " We have underrated mamma's

At

a long- and ag-itated discussion, Josephine consented but Laure must be the one to tell all to the baroness. last, after

;

*'

So, then,

you at

make your

least will

peace with mamma," argued Josephine, " and let us go in and do this before our courag-e fails

:

besides,

it is g-oing-

to rain,

has turned cold. Where have all these clouds come from ? An hour ago there was not one in the sky " They went, with hesitating- steps and guilty looks, to the saloon. Their mother was not there. A reprieve. Laure had an idea. " No, I will not I will ask her to go out tell her here. with me and then I will take her to the chapel, and show her the monument, and then she will be so pleased with poor Ca-

and

it

!

;

mille

:

after that,

I will begin

by

when she

is

softened,

telling her all the

misery

you have both gone through and, when she pities j'ou, then I will show her it was all m^^ fault your misery ended in a secret ;

marriage." " Ah, Laure

her cheek had but little color left her chair with this

when she

resolve.

shrewdness. What shall I do?" " Better tell her than let her find out," '' We must tell her some said Laure.

day."

187

CHAPTER XXXII. Now it happened as Laure went down the long salon to carry out their united resolve, that Jacintha looked in ; and, after a hasty glance to see who was present, she waited till Laure came up to her, and then she drew a letter from under her apron and gave it her. letter for my mistress," said she, with an air of mj^stery. '' Why not take it to her, then ? "

"A

''I

thought you might

like to see it

mademoiselle," said she, with a quiet meaning. ** letter for our mother, Josephine, that is all." *'Is it from the dear doctor?" asked

first,

A

Josephine.

" La, no, mademoiselle," said Jacintha

"don't you know the doctor is come home ? Why, he has been in the house near an hour. He is with my lady."

The doctor entered the room at this Laure threw down the and the whole party were she letter, and

very moment.

instantly occupied in greeting him.

you are

my

guardian angel. I feel cold at what is coming: it is verj^ good of you to make the plunge for us. After all, to-morrow must come !

!

When they had all shaken hands with him, and welcomed him again and again, Laure remembered the letter, and took it up to carry to the baroness. Looking at

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

1§8

then more closely, she uttered an exclamation and beckoned the doctor it

at the letter, " for God's sake, what the date of the battle in which he

is dated the 15th of a dream? no! this was written since his death."

killed

hastily.

He came

to her ; and she put the letter nto his hand. He put up his glasses and eyed it. ''Yes!" whispered he, "it is from

Josephine and Camille saw somethingthey joined the other two with curiosity in their faces. Laure put her hand on a small table near her and leaned a moment. She turned half sick at a letter coming from the dead. " My love my Laure " cried Jo-

was going on

:

!

!

sephine, with

great concern, " what

is

"

the matter ? *' My poor friends," said the doctor, solemnly, " this is one of those fearful things that you have not seen in your short lives, but it has been more than once my lot to witness it. The ships that carry letters from distant countries vary greatly in speed, and are subject to detaining accidents. Yes this is the third time I have seen a letter come written by a hand known to be cold. The baroness is a little excited to-day, I don't know from what cause. With 3'our approbation, Madame Raynal, I will read this letter before I let her see it." " Read it, doctor." " Shall I read it out ? " !

There

''Certainlj'.

maybe some

wish

expressed in it and the last wishes of a hero are sacred." :

Camille, from delicacy, retired to some little distance, and the doctor read the letter in a

low and solemn voice.



*' My dear mother : I hope all are well at Beaurepaire as I am, or I hope soon to he. I received a wound in our last skirm,ish : not a very severe one: hut it put an end to my writing for some

time.''

" Poor

fellow

!

Wh3% when was

it

was

his death- wound.

this written?

— why?"

and the doctor paused and seemed stupefled: "why, my dears, has my memory gone, or " and again he looked eagerly



was was

for this letter

:

May.





Is it

"No, doctor," said Camille, hastily, "you deceive yourself." " Why, what was the date of the Moniteur, then?" asked St. Aubin, in great agitation. "Considerably later than this,"

said

Camille.

"Well, but suppose see

—the journal

"

was — you don't

it

the journal " mother has it locked up.

My

!

!

I'll

run." " No, Laure, no one but me. Josephine, do not give way to hopes that may be delusive.

But I tell you plainly, there I must see that journal diStay where you are. I will go

are hopes. rectly.

He

to the baroness."

hurried out. when a cry of horror filled the room, a cry as of madness falling like a thunderbolt on a hu-

He was

man It

scarcely gone,

mind.

was Josephine, who, up

to this,

had

not uttered one word. She stood, white as a corpse, in the middle of the room, and wrung her hands.

"What do?

before

have

was the

It

me

I

done?

third of

What shall I May I see it !

— the third of —and he writes

in letters of fire

the third of May the 15th." "No no " cried Camille wildly. "It was long, long after the third." " It w^as the third of May " repeated Josephine, in a hoarse voice, that

May

!

!

!

!

!

none would have known for hers. Camille ran to her with words of comfort and hope he did not share her fears. He remembered about Avhen the Moniteur He came, though not the very da\\ threw his arm lovingl}'^ round her, as if to protect her against these shadowy Her dilating e3'es seemed fixed terrors. on something distant in space or time at some horrible thing coming slowly toward her. She did not see Camille approach her, but the moment she felt him she turned upon him swiftly. ^|ygj|^ ;

"Do you

love

me —you?"

still

in^m^

— WHITE hoarse voice that had so

little in it of

Jo-

sephine.

" Oh, Josephine " !

*'Does one grain of respect or virtue mingle in your love for me ? " " What words are these, my wife ? " '' Then leave Raynal's house upon the instant. You wonder I can be so cruel ? and that I can see my I wonder, too short moment But, one duty so clear in Camille, I have lived twenty years since my brain has that letter came. Oh whirled through a thousand agonies. But I have come back a thousand times to the same thing ^you and I must see each other's face no more." Camille threw himself on his knees and implored her to recall her words. *' Take care," she screamed, wildly. " I am on the verge of madness is it for you to thrust me over the precipice ? Come now, if you are a man of honor, if you have a spark of g-ratitude toward the poor woman who has given you all except her fair name that she will take to the g-rave in spite of you all promise that you will leave Raynal's house this minute, if he is alive, and let me die in honor, as I have lived." ;

!

!



;





no!"

''No! stricken merciful we are

it

;

Camille,

cried

cannot

be

!

terror-

Heaven

is

and Heaven sees how happy Be calm these are idle fears be calm, I say Well, then, my poor saint, if it is so, I will obey j'ou. I will ;

!

;

!

stay,

I will g-o. I

Whatever you

bid

poor Josephine

!

will

me

die,

I

will

do, I will do,

live.

my

"

!

Agitated voices were heard at the door, and the baroness burst in, followed to put

doctor, who was trjing- in vain some bounds to her emotion and

her hopes. *' Oh, my children my children " " Here, cried she, trembling violently. Laure, my hands shake so take this key, open the cabinet, there is the Moniteur. What is the date ? " " The 20th of May." " There " cried Camille. *' I told you." !



!

;

!

LIES.

189

The baroness uttered a feeble moan. Her hopes died as suddenly as they had been born, and she sank drooping: into a chair, with a bitter sigh. Camille stole a joyful look at Josephine. She was in the same attitude, looking straight before her as at a coming* horror. Presently Laure uttered a faint " The battle was cry pre ! " hef

:

''To be sure," cried the doctor: "you forget, it is not the date of the paper, but of the battle it records. For God's sake, when was the battle ? " " The third of May," said Josephine,

a voice that seemed to come from the tomb. Laure's hands that held the journal fell like a dead weig-ht upon her knees. She whispered "It was the third of May." " Ah " cried the baroness, starting* up. " He may yet be alive He must in

:

!

!

Heaven is merciful be alive Heaven would not take my son from me. poor old woman who has not long- to live. There was a letter Where is the " letter ? !

!

A

!

"Yes, the said

the

Where

letter!

" I had

doctor.

it

it?" has thought is

:

it

dropped from my old fingers. I of nothing but the journal." A short examination of the room showed the letter h'ing crumpled up near the door. Camille gave it to the baroness.

" Read

You and

!

—read

!

no, not yon, old friend

!

our hands shake, and our eyes are troubled this young gentleman will read it to us his eyes are not dim and troubled. Oh, something tells me that when / hear this letter I shall find out whether my son lives Why do you not read it to me, Camille ? " cried she, almost fiercely. Camille, thus pressed, obeyed mechanically, and began to read Ra^mal's letter aloud, scarce knowing what he did, but urged and driven by the baroness. I are old

:

:

:

" Swear this to me hy the thing" you hold most sacred " "I swear by my love for you."

by the

:

!



" My dear mother I hope all are well at Beaurepaire, as I am. I received a wound in our last skirmish, not a very severe one : but it stopped my writing for some time."

"

"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

190

" Go on, dear Camille go on." " The pag-e ends there, madame." The paper was thin, and Camille, whose hand trembled, had some difficulty in detaching- the leaves from one another. He succeeded, however, at last, and went on reading and writhing. !

" By the

waj/,

you must address your

as Colonel Raynal. I just before this last affair, hut had not time to tell yo2i."

next letter to

me

was promoted

There, there!" cried the baroness. Colonel Raynal, and Colonel Raynal was not killed." " Pray don't interrupt." " No, my friend g-o on, Camille why do you hesitate ? what is the matter ? do for pity's sake g"o on, sir." Camille cast a look of ag-ony around, and put his hand to his brow, on which '*

**



;

He was



:

drops of cold perspiration, like a death dew, were g-athering-; but, driven to the stake on all sides, he g-asped on, rather than read for his eye had g-one larg-e

:

down

the page.

— Commandant

'' A namesake of mine Raynal



Then she fell on her knees, and thanked Heaven aloud before them all. Then she rose and went hastily out, and her voice was heard crying very loud " Jacintha

!

The doctor effects

"

Jacintha

!

followed,

,

fearful

this violent joy on

of

for

a person. The three remained behind, panting and pale like those to whom dead Lazarus burst the tomb and came forth in a moment at a word. Then Camille half kneeled, half fell at Josephine's feet, and, in a voice choked with sobs, bade her dispose of him. She turned her head away. *' Do not speak to me, do not look at me if we look at one another, we are Go die at your post, and I at lost. mine " He bowed his head, and kissed her dress, then he rose calm as despair and white as death, and, his knees knocking under him, he tottered away like a corpse set moving.



:

!

!

The baroness came back, triumphant and gay. "I have sent her to bid them ring the bells in the village

the poor shall be

;





feasted all shall share our joy my son was dead, and lives. Oh, joy joy !

*'Ah!" "

Has

not been

— so fortunate

:

he

"Mother!"



shrieked Josephine. that I am, I am too boisterous help me, Laure she is going " to faint her lips are white They brought a chair. They forced Josephine into it. She was not the least faint yet her bod.y obeyed their hands just like a dead body. The baroness burst into tears, tears streamed from Laure's eyes. Josephine's were dry and stony, and fixed on coming horror. The

"Madwoman !

I

go on " The wretched man could now scarcely they came from utter Raynal 's words him in a choking groan.

Go on

!

!

:





" He was killed poor fellow! ivhile heading a gallant charge upon the '' enemy^s flank.

The

was ground

convulsively then it fell, all crumpled, on the f]oor. "Bless you, Camille!" cried the baroness ''bless you bless you I have a son still Give me the precious letter " She stooped eagerly, took it up, and kissed it again and again. letter



!

!

!

"Your husband alive

!

I

joy!"

I

"

the

aged

so

!

is

our benefactor

my

alive! is alive

" !

son

is

!



!

:

baroness reproached herself. " Thoughtless old woman. It w^as too sudden it is too much for my dear child. I, too, am faint now " and she kneeled, and laid her aged head on her daughter's tears, bosom, saying feebly through " too much joy too much joy.'^ Josephine took no notice of her. She sat like one turned to stone, looking far away over her mother's head with rigid :

;



1^

WHITE

LIES.

191

eyes fixed on the air and on coming" hor-

expense, the publisher contenting himself

rors.

with the

Laure Aubin.

felt

her

He, too,

arm was

seized.

It

was

St.

pale now, thoug-h

He spoke in a terrible not before. whisper to Laure, his eye fixed on the woman of stone that sat there. "Is THIS JOY?"

profits.

The author,

thirsting- for the public, consented. Then the publisher wrote again to say that the work must be spiced. little politics must be fiung in nothing- g-oes

A

:

down

else.

in some heat that he would not dilute things everlastingwith the fieeting topics of the day, nor defile science with politics. On this his Mentor smoothed him down, despisinghim secretl}^ for not seeing- that a book is a matter of trade and nothing- else. Brief, St. Aubin went to Paris to hatch

The author answered

CHAPTER

XXXIII.

his Phoenix.

Josephine Raynal is no strang-er to you most of you know more about her than about any other woman of your acBring- your knowledge to quaintance. :

my

Imagine, as the weary hours, aid. and days, and weeks roll over her head, what this loving woman feels for her what lover whom she has dismissed :

this grateful

woman

feels

for the bene-

factor she has unwittingly wrong-ed



but never wrong with her eyes open. What this woman, pure as snow, and proud as fire, feels at the appearance of frailty into which circumstances have betrayed her. Put down the book a moment shut your eyes and imagine this strang-e Avill

;

;

form

of

human

He had not been there a week, when a small deputation called on him, and informed him he had been elected honorary member

of a certain scientific society. ''Hallo!" thoug-ht he, and bowed as gentlemen used and as dancing- masters Fair speeches on both sides use. Exit !

deputation.

Next, invitations poured

in.

He

ac-

cepted them. He shone at parties. Compliments were gracefully insinuated to his face. Science seemed really to be coming into fashion.

But when a lovely \'oung woman or two began with the pliancy of their sex to find they had for many 3'ears secretly taken a

warm own

—out of their — the naturalist smelled a rat.

interest in butterflies

species

see," said he, " entomology, a form of idiocy in a poor man, is a graceful de-

"I

suffering-.

Doctor St. Aubin received one day a note from a publishing bookseller, to inquire whether he still thought of giving the world his valuable work on insects. The doctor was amazed. ** Why, Laure, My valuable work they all refused it, and this one in particular recoiled from me as if my insects could sting on paper." The publisher went on to say "Studies of this class are gaining ground, and I think we might venture before the public." This led to a correspondence, in which the convert to insects explained that the work must be published at the author's !



viation of the intellect in a rich one."

Philosopher without bile, he saw through and let it amuse, not shock him. His species had another trait in reserve for him. He took a world of trouble to find out the circumstances of his nephew's nephews and nieces then he made arrangements for distributing a large part of his legacy among- them. His intentions and the proportions of his generosity transpired. this,

:

Silent

amount

now,

till

abused him

;

thej^

all

each looking

fell onlj''

to

and

at the

of his individual share, not

at

sum total the doctor was giving away to an ungrateful lot. the

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

192

The donor was greatly amused, and noted down the incident and some of the remarks in his commonplace-book, under

"Man."

this head,

Paris

is full

him

of seductions,

some of them and held

fast.

He was

disturbed from time to time by accounts of Josephine's health and, if he had thoug-ht with the baroness that her illness was of the body, he would have come to her side at once as it was, he hoped more from time than from drugs and, as he had a vague susin her case picion he was not desirous the baroness should share, he was rather disposed to keep out of her waj^ He wrote, therefore, briefly and reservedly, assuring Madame de Beaurepaire that Madame Raynal had no organic disease, and would outgrow these fluctuations of health he prescribed some mild

ill

;

:

;

:

tonics.

be frank with

me

:

did

None

"Not

them ? "

of

one."

" Then there is no danger, you think?" "Not an atom." " Bless you for saying so, good Jacintha And how confidently you speak your tone and manner reassure me. Yet, after all, my poor Jacintha, you are not a doctor " " No, mademoiselle, but women in my way of life see a many things, and hear a many things, that don't come to a young lady's knowledge like you." " Oh, do they ? " The above sj^mptom disappeared but a more serious cause of fear remained in Josephine's utter listlessness and frightful apathy she seemed a creature descending inch bj' inch into the tomb. She shunned all company even Laure 's at times. She seldom spoke. One day she said, " Not dead yet " half to herself, and in such a tone that Laure's heart !

:

!

:

:

:

mind was so terrible that Laure would gladly have compounded for a bodily illness she The despair

of Josephine's

:

feared

for

though

it

her

sister's

reason

;

and,

added another anxiety, she was

scarcel}^ sorry

when she discovered that

symptoms which looked

like bile

attacked

her frequently.

"

!

"No." "

It netted the doctor,

innocent.

" Oh, Jacintha they die?"

our mother of this." tell her a word about it," She hapJacintha, quietly.

I shall tell

"I would not

observed pened to be present. " Why not ? she has already noticed

!

died within her.

The house

fell

and gloom.

into silence

bustling and cheerful, became silent, thoughtful and moody. She had never been so affected naturally

Jacintha,

by

so

their former troubles.

her

ej^e

Laure caught

at times, dwelling with a singu-

lar expression of pity

and

interest on Jo-

so confident, that Laure drew her aside. '^Jacintha, I am so anxious about her

:

" thought " she sees my sister is unhappy, Laure, and that makes her more attentive and devoted to her than ever." One day these three were together in Josephine was meJosephine's room. chanically combing her long hair, when, all of a sudden, she stretched out her hand and cried hastily

and perhaps our mother may know some remedy she is more experienced than we

Laure ran to her, and coming behind

how

ill

my

sister is."

" Mademoiselle Laure, take and don't go and worry her

my :

it

advice

can do

no good." Jacintha spoke so

firml^'',

and seemed

:

her saw

There is no remedN^ wanted. You are making a fuss about nothing, mademoi-

colorless.

selle."

"

How do -yoM know that, Jacintha ? Did you ever see any one suffer as she does?" ''Plenty!"

creature

!

"Laure!"

are." ''

" Good

sephine.

in

the glass that her

lips Avere

She screamed to Jacintha, and between them they supported JoShe had hardly sephine to the bed. touched it when she fainted dead away.

"Mamma mamma !

!

" cried Laure, in

her terror.

"Hush

!

" cried Jacintha, "hold your

"

WHITE tongue

;

it is

only a faint. Help

make any

her, don't

me

loosen

noise whatever."

They loosened her stays and applied the usual remedies, but it was some time before she came to. At last the color came back to her lips, then to her cheek, and the lig-ht to her eye. She smiled feebly on Jacintha and Laure. " *• I have been insensible, have I not ? *' Yes, love, and frightened us a little not much Oh dear oh dear ! ^' Don't be alarmed, sweet one I am better." *'Now maj^ I go and tell mamma?" asked Laure. ** No mademoiselle," was Jacintha's reply. **What makes you so bent on tormenting my mistress ? " " But, Jacintha, I am frightened it is not as if my sister was subject to fainting fits. I never saw her faint but once before." " And I will never do it again, since it frightens you." Then Josephine said to her sister, in a low voice and in the Italian language ** I hoped it was Death, m3' sister ; but he comes not to the





— —

!

!

:

:

wretched." ** If you hoped that " replied Laure, in the same language, "you do not love your poor sister, who so loves you." While the Italian was going on, Jacintha's dark eyes glanced suspiciously on each speaker in turn. But her suspicions were all wide of the mark. ** Now may I go and tell mamma ? " !

" No, mademoiselle Madame Raynal, do take my side, and forbid her." "Why, what is it to you " said Laure, !

!

sharply.

193

make terms with tried we will pay her devotion

Come,

friends.

this compliment.

such a small favor." " And I shall take it as a great one." " Enough we will not tell our mo-

It is

:

ther."

Laure acquiesced, but with a sigh. " I did so hope that all our concealments from her were ended but now we have begun concealing, something keeps always happening to make us go on. " Well, one comfort, Dr. St. Aubin will be here next month, and then I shall tell him there is no objection to that, I sup:

;

pose."

"What was "

all

We

day does the doctor come?" Jacintha's answer. don't know j^et but he will write :

first."

An improvement took

place in Josephabout this time. A slight tint came to her cheek, and faint and fitful glows to her heart. The powers of life in her received a support she was conscious of it. She said one day to Laure " My sister, I no longer wish to die is Something seems to bid it not strange ? me live. Is Heaven strengthening me to suffer more? " ine's health

:

:

:

"No,

my sister,"

said

Laure

;

" time

is

blunting your anguish And it is for my sake you wish to live, bless you !— for mine, who would follow you to the tomb, my best beloved of all the world " " Yes,* Laure, you love your poor sister !

!

too well. I fear you love me better than you do Edouard." " He has no troubles Yes, my poor patient saint, mj'- life seems to me too !

" If it was not something to me, should I thwart my dear young lady ? " " No. And you shall have your own way, if you will but condescend to give me a reason." This to some of us might appear reasonable, but not to Jacintha it even hurt her feelings. " Mademoiselle," she said, "when you were little and used to ask me for anything, did I ever say to you, ' Give me a reason first ? " :

'

" There

LIES.

!

she

is

right.

(M)

We should

not

-7

small a thing to give 3'ou."^ "It is very consoling to be loved so," sobbed Josephine. " Oh, that none other but you had ever loved me I have caused the despair of one who loved me !

well, too.

Oh,

my

sister

!

—my sister

" !

This was the only time she had ever alluded for months past to Camille. She guarded the avenues of her heart, poor soul

!

She fought for her purity as

sternly, as keenly, as heroes ever fought for glory, or martyrs for truth. Bkadk—Vol. VI.





:

WORKS OF CHARLES READS.

194

Josephine's appearance improved still Her hollow cheeks recovered their

more.

plump smoothness, and her beauty its bloom, and her pei-son g-rew more noble and statue-like than ever, and within she felt a sense of indomitable vitality. Her appetite had for some months been excessively feeble and uncertain, and her food tasteless but of late by what she conceived to be a reaction such as is common after youth has shaken off a long" sickness, her appetite had been not only healthy but eager. The baroness observed this, and it relieved her of a larg-e portion of her anxiety. One day at dinner her maternal heart was so pleased with Josephine's performance, that she took it as a personal favor. " Well done, my daug-hter that gives ;

!

your mother pleasure to see you eat ag-ain. Soup and bouillon : and now twice 3^ou have been to Laure for some of that pate, which does you so much credit, Jacintha."

Josephine colored high at this compliment. " It is true," said she, " I eat like a pig' ; " and, with a furtive g-lance at the

down her knife and and ate no more of anything. **The doctor will be angry with me," said the baroness. "I have tormented him away from Paris, and when he comes he will find her as well as ever." said pate, she laid fork,

"Madame

the baroness," said Jacin"when does the doctor come, if I may make so bold, that I may " g-et his room ready ? "Well thought of, Jacintha. He comes the day after to-morrow in the ^ afternoon." tha,

hastily,

At night when the young" ladies went up to bed, what did they find but a little cloth laid on a little table in Josephine's room, and the remains of the pate she had liked. Laure burst out laughing " Look at that dear duck of a goose, Jacintha Our mother's flattery sank deep she thinks we can eat her pates at all hours of the day and night. Shall I send it away? " •

!

;

"No!" said Josephine; "that would hurt her culinary pride, and perhaps her affection only cover it up, dear for just now I am not in the humor: it rather turns my stomach." It was covered up. The sisters retired to rest. In the middle of the night, pitch dark, Josephine rose, groped her way to the pate, and ate it to the last mouthful polished the plate; then to bed ag-ain, :

:

tranquilized.

The large tapestried chamber, once occupied by Camille Dujardin, was now turned into a sitting-room, and it was a favorite room on account of the beautiful view from the windows. It had also a larg'e side window looking westward, as well as four windows looking south and this suited the baroness ; her sight was dim. Josephine sat there alone with some work on a certain daj'- in her hand but the needle often stopped, and the fair head drooped. She heaved a deep sigh. To her surprise it was echoed by a sigh :

:

seemed to come from a heart full of sighs. She turned hastily round it was that, like her own,



Jacintha. Josephine, as

we know, had a woman's eye for reading faces, and she was instantlj'- struck by two things, by a certain g:ravity in Jacintha's g"aze, and a flutter which the young- woman was suppressing with tolerable but not complete success.

Disguising" the uneasiness this discoverj'^

gave

her,

in the face,

she looked Jacintha

and said mildly, but a

full little

coldly

" Well, Jacmtha ? " Jacintha lowered her eyes, and muttered slowly

"The

—comes—to-day."

Then moment" to taKe Josephine off her guard but the calm face was impenetrable. So then Jacmtha added, " to our misfortune, throwing .n still more meaning, " To our misfortune ? What, dear old doctor

raised her eyes all in a



'

friend

—what do j^ou mean

.''

"



LIES.

195

"

WHITE "It

not so

is

say what

easy to

from me, you dare not trust me, that would be cut in pieces ere I would betray 3'ou Mademoiselle, you are wrong. The poor can feel they have all seen trouble, and a servant is the best of friends where

I

mean " !

" And

it is impossible for me to divine " mj^ poor Jacintha " Madame, " said the other firmly, "do not jest, I entreat you the case is too serious. That old man makes me shake. You are never safe with him. So long- as it,

!

:

!

!

you might take his shoes off, and on he'd walk and never know it; but every now and then he comes out of' the clouds all in one moment, without a word of warning-, and his

head

is

his eye is on everything-, a bird's. Then he is so old. He has seen a heap. Take my word for it, the old are more knowing than the young, let them be as sharp as you like the old have seen everything. We have only heard talk of the most part, with here and there a glimpse. To know life to the bottom, you must live it out, from the soup to the dessert and that is what the doctor has done, and now he is coming here." "Well, and what follows ? " like

:

;

"Mademoiselle Laure will go telling him everjT^thing and, if she tells him half what there is to tell, your secret will be :

no secret."

" My secret !" gasped Josephine, turning pale. " Don't look so, madame don't be frightened at poor Jacintha. Sooner or



!

she has the heart to love her mistress and do not I love you ? Ah, mademoiselle do not turn from her who has carried 3'ou in her arms, and laid you to sleep upon her bosom, many's and many's the time." Josephine panted audibly. She held out her hand eloquently toward Jacintha, but she turned her head away, and trembled. Jacintha cast a hasty glance round the room. Then she trembled too at what she was going to saj"-, and the effect it might have on the 3'oung lady. As for Josephine, terrible as the conversation had become, she made no attempt to evade it, for she must learn how far Jacintha had penetrated her secret. Jacintha, in a hurried, quivering voice, hissed into Josephine's ear these words "When the news of Colonal Raynal's death came, 3^ou wept, but the color came back to your cheek. When the news of his life came, you turned to stone. Ah my poor young lady, there has been more between you and that man than should Ever since one da}^ you "all went to be. Frejus together you were a changed woman. I have seen you look at him, as as a wife looks at her man. I have seen !

in the clouds,

when he does

!



!



later

you 7nust trust somebody besides Mademoiselle Laure."

him

Josephine looked at her with inquiring, frightened ej'^es. " Mademoiselle I beg pardon, ma-

what you have seen oh do not remind me of joys I pray God to help me forget. He was my husband, then oh, cruel Jacintha, to remind me of what I have been of what I am ah me ah me ah

!

—I carried

dame was a



my

arms when I child. When I was a girl you toddled at my siSe, and held my gown, and lisped my name and used to put your little arms round my neck, and kiss me, you would. Ah, mademoiselle, I wish those days could come back " you

in

;

!

"Ah could

!

would they could

!

— would

they

!

" And

"Hush! Jacintha!



Do

!



:

me

"



me

tell

!



!

!

" muttered Jacintha amazement. Then Josephine drooped her head on this faithful creature's shoulder, and told her with many sobs the story I have told you she told it very briefly, for it was to a woman, who, though little educated, was full of feeling and shrewdness, and needed but the bare facts she could add the rest from her own heart and expericould tell the storm of feelings ence " Your husband

!

!

in utter

;

ever I had the least pain, or sickness, your dear little face would turn as sorrowful, and all the pretty color leave it for Jacintha ; and now you are in trouble, sore trouble but you turn away if

not

!

:

:

;

.

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

196

through which these two unhappy lovers must have passed. Her frequent sig-hs of pity and sympathy drew Josephine on to pour out all her g-riefs. When the tale was ended, she gave a sigh of relief. *' It might have been worse," said Jacintha: "1 thought it was worse the more fool I I deserve to have my head cutoff!" It was Josephine's turn to be amazed. "It could have been worse " said she.





forced against my will to speak plainer than I am used to." Then followed a conversation, to detail which might anticipate our story suffice it to say that it gave Josephine another

and

I

am

my mind

-,

confidante.

Laure, coming into the room rather suddenly, found her sister weeping on Jacintha's bosom, and Jacintha crying and sobbing over her.

!

"How? "

It

tell

me," added she

bitterly.

me

would be a consolation to

could

I see that."

Jacinth a colored and evaded this quesand begged her to go on to keep nothing back from her. Josephine assured her she had revealed all. Jacintha looked at her a moment in silence. " It is then as I half suspected."



tion,

"What?" "You do not know 3^ou.

that

You do not " old man ?

"No

see

why

that I

before afraid of

is

am

:

!



am." " You are neither

know tress,

of

nothing. Ah my poor you are but a child still. !

You

you wise.

young mis-

Ver^'^

good, doctor."

" Oh, as to her appetite," cried the baroness, "it is immense." "It was," explained Josephine, "just

when I began to get better but now it is much as usual." This answer had been ;

arranged beforehand by Jacintha. She " The fact is, we wanted to see added you, doctor, and my ridiculous ailments were an excuse for tearing you from :

Paris."

"And now we have succeeded," said Laure, "let us throw off the mask and talk of other things above all, of Paris



You have and your eclat." "For all that," wade through," said Ja-

a deep water to cintha, so solemnly that Josephine tremdeep water, and do not see it bled.

"A

You have

even.

now

"

"Indeed!" all

not of him in particular." " Nor why I want to keep Mademoiselle Laure from talking too much to him ? " "No Jacintha, be not uneas}'. Laure She is wise wiser than is to be trusted. I

Doctor St. Aubin, on his arrival, was agreeably surprised at Madame Ra^^nal's appearance. "She looks much as usual," said he. " She is even grown a little. How is your appetite, my child ? "

must

I

me what is past you what is coming.

told

tell

Heaven help me " !

Josephine trembled. "Give me your dear hand to hold, mademoiselle,

if

you believe

I love

you " !

" There, dear Jacintha." She trembled " Have you no misgiving ? " " Alas I am full of them at your words, at your manner, they fly around me in crowds." " Have you no one ? " " No " !

:

!

" Turn your head from me a bit, my sweet young lady. I am an honest woman, though I am not so innocent as you,

" she was ill,

ill

when

persisted the baroness, I first wrote,

and very

too."

"Madame Raynal," said the doctor, solemnly, "3'our conduct has been irregular, to say the least; once ill, and your illness announced to 3^our medical adviser, 3'ou had no right to get well, but by his prescriptions. As, then, you have shown yourself unfit to conduct a maladj'^, it becomes my painful dut^'^ to forbid you henceforth ever to be ill at all, without my permission first obtained in writing." This badinage was greatlj^ relished by Laure; but not at all by the baroness. The doctor stayed a month at Beaureand being paire, then off to Paris again now a rich man, and not too old to enjoy innocent pleasures, he got into a habit of ;

running backward and forward between

;

WHITE the two places, spending a month or so at each, alternately. So the days rolled on. Josephine fell into a state that almost defies description. Her heart was full of deadly wounds; yet this seemed, by some mysterious, half-healing- balm, to throb and ache, but bleed no more. Beams of strange, unreasonable complacency would shoot across her; the next moment reflection would come ; she would droop her head, and sigh piteously. Then all would merge in a wild terror of detection.

She seemed on the borders of a river and inexbliss, new, divine, haustible and on the other bank mocking, malignant fiends dared her to enter that heavenly stream. Nature was strong in this young woman and at this part of her eventful career Nature threw herself with giant of bliss



;

;

life. The past to regrets ; the future full of terrors, and emptj' of hope. Yet she did Instead of the not, could not, succumb.

force into the scale of

her was

full of

and languor of a few months back, she had now more energj^ than ever at times it mounted to irritation. An activity possessed her it broke out in many feminine ways. Among the rest she was seized with what we men should " a raging call a cacoethes of the needle desire " for work. Her fingers itched for listlessness

;

;

work. She w^as at it all da\% As devotees retire apart to praj', so she to stitch.

On a wet day

she would slip into the and ply the needle beside Jacintha on a dry day she would hide in the old oak-tree, and sit like a mouse, and ply the tools of her craft, and make things of no mortal use to man or woman and she tried little fringes of muslin upon her white hand, and held it up in front of her, and smiled, and then moaned. It was winter, and Laure used sometimes to bring kitchen, ;

;

her out a thick shawl, as she sat in the old oak-tree, stitching, but Josephine nearly always declined it. She was impervious to cold.

Then, her purse being better filled than formerly, she visited the poor more than ever, and, above all, the young couples

LIES.

197

and took a warm interest in their household matters, and gave them muslin articles of her own making, and sometimes sniffed the soup in a young housewife's pot, and took a fancy to it, and, if invited to taste it, paid her the compliment of eating a good plateful of it, and said it was better soup than the chateau produced and thought so and whenever some peevish little brat set up a yell in its cradle, and the father shook his fist at the ;

;

destroyer of his peace,

Madame

Raynal's

lovely face filled with concern, not for the sufferer, but the yeller, and she flew to it

and rocked it and cpaxed it and consoled it, and the young housewife smiled, and stopped its* mouth by other means. And, besides the five-franc pieces she gave the infants to hold, these visits of

Madame

Rajmal were always followed by one from Jacintha with a basket of provisions on her stalwart arm, and honest Sir John Burgoyne peeping out at the corner. Kind and beneficent as she was, her temper deteriorated a little it came down from angelic almost to human. Laure and Jacintha were struck with the change, ;

assented to everything she said, and encouraged her in everything it pleased her caprice to do.

Meantime the baroness lived on her son Raynal's letters (they came regularly twice a month). Laure too had a correspondence, a constant source of delight to her. Edouard Riviere was posted at a great distance, and could not visit her but their love advanced nevertheless rapidly. ;

Every day he wrote down

for his

Laure

the acts of the day, and twice a week sent the budget to his sweetheart, and told her at the same time every feeling of his heart. She was less fortunate than he she had to carry a heavy secret but still she found plenty to tell him, and tender feelings too to vent on him in her own arch, shy, fitful way. Letters can enchain hearts it was by letters that these two found themselves imperceptibly betrothed. Their union was looked forward to as certain and not very distant. Meantime, ;

;

;

it

was always a comfort and a joy

to

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

198 slip out of sight

one on paper.

and chat to the beloved

On

this side, at least, all

was brig'ht. One day. Dr.

St. Aubin, coming- back from Paris to Beaurepaire rather sud-

found nobodj-- at home but the Josephine and Laure were baroness. had been there more gone to Frejus than a week. She was ailing again so, as Frejus had agreed with her once, Laure denly,



:

thought

might again.

it

**I will

send for them back

now you

are come."

No

!

I will

a place he expected to find the young ladies at once but to his surprise no one knew them or had heard of them. He was at a nonplus, and just about to return home and laugh at himself and the baroness for this wild-goose chase, when he fell in with a face he knew, one Mivart, a surgeon, a young man of some talent, who had made his acquaintance in Paris. Mivart accosted him with great respect and, after the first compliments, informed him that he had been settled s ome months in this little town, and was doing a fair stroke of business. " Killing some, and letting Nature cure others eh monsieur? " said the doctor. Mivart grinned. The doctor then revealed in general terms the occasion that small

;



!

had brought him to Frejus. " Are they pretty women, your

?

know all the prettj^ women about," said Mivart, with unpardonable levity.

" They are not prettj^," replied St. Aubin.

Mivart's interest in them faded visibly out of his countenance. "But they are beautiful. The elder might pass for Venus, and the j^ounger for Hebe." I

know them " !

cried he

;

" they are

patients of mine."

The doctor

colored.

"Ah, indeed!" **

;

!

ing for."

"It

is

a curious coincidence, certainly

:

happens to be a Madame Raynal I am looking for and not a Madame St. Aubin."

but

it

"Madame Raynal?

don't

know

her."

Madame St. Aubin was not the friend he was in search of. "She and her sister," said he, "are so lovely they make one ill to look at them the deepest blue eye^ you ever saw, both of them high foreheads, teeth like ivory mixed with pearl, such aristocratic feet and hands, and their oh " and, by way of general arms summary, the young surgeon kissed the

for this, that

:

:



In the absence of your greater skill,"

!

tips of his fingers, and was silent language succumbed under the theme. The doctor smiled coldly. "If you had come an hour sooner, you might have seen Mademoiselle Laure she was in the town." " Mademoiselle Laure ? who is that ? " :

;

"Why, Madame " Hum

!

where

St.

do

Aubin's sister." these paragons

live?"

" The3^ lodge at a small farm it belongs to a widow her name is Roth." :

:

The^'^ parted.

Aubin walked slowly toward hands behind him, his eyes on the ground. He bade the driver inquire where the Widow Roth lived, and learned it was about half a league out of Doctor

friends

I think I

"

" it is Madame St. Aubin and her sister you are looking for, is it not?" " Madame St. Aubin ? " " Yes and how stupid of me not to know by the name who you were inquirsaid Mivart, politely

Mivart then condoled with the doctor

" said the doctor, " why do that ? go over there and see them." Accordingly, a day or two after this, St. Aubin hired a carriage and went off early in the morning to Frejus. In so ''

:

St.

his carriage, his

the town. He drove to the farmhouse when the carriage drove up, a 3^oung lady looked out of the window, on the It was Laure de Beaurepaire. first floor. She caught the doctor's eye, and he hers. She came down and welcomed him. She was all in a flutter. " How did you find us out ? " " From your medical attendant," said the doctor drj-ly. Laure looked keenly in his face. "He said he was in attendance on two

!

:

WHITE



blue eyes, white paragons of beauty teeth and arms." "And you found us out by that ? " inquired Laure, looking at him.

''Hardly; but of finding

it

you, so

still

my

was I

more keenly last

Madame Raynal?" " Come into this room,

chance

Where

is

dear friend.

I

came.

go and find her." Full twenty minutes was the doctor kept waiting, and then in came Laure, gayly crying— "I have hunted her high and low, and where do you think my lady was? Sitting out in the garden come."

will



enough, they found Josephine in the garden, seated on a low chair. She smiled when the doctor came up to her, and asked after her mother. There was an air of languor about her her color Sui-e

LIES.

"I

199

here that my good not competent to deal

see nothing

friend Mivart

is

with," said the doctor, interrupting her, Then followed some general conversation, at the end of which the doctor once more laid his commands on them to stay another fortnight where they were ; and he bade them good-by. When he was gone, Laure went to the door of the kitchen, and called out, " Madame Jouvenel Madame Jouvenel " you may come into the garden again !

!

The doctor drove away but instead of going straight to Beaurepaire he ordered the driver to return to the town. He then walked to Mivart's house. :

He was an hour and

three quarters

closeted with Mivart.

'

;

was

clear, delicate,

and

beautiful.

been unwell, my child ? " " A little, dear friend you know me always ailing, and tormenting those I

"You have

:

love."

"Well

and always sets you up. Look at her now, doctor ; did you ever see her look better?" " Yes." " How can you say so ? See what a color. I never saw her look more lovely." " I never saw her look so lovely but I have seen her look better. Your pulse, my child A little languid ? " !

but, Josephine, this place

this sweet air

:

!

"Yes, lama little." "Do you stay at Beaurepaire ? " in" if so, we will come quired Laure home." ;

"You will stay here another fortnight," said the doctor authoritatively. " Prescribe some of your nice tonics for me, doctor," said Josephine coaxingly. "No I can't do that you are in the hands of another practitioner." "What does that matter? You were at Paris." "It is not the etiquette in our profession to interfere with another man's patients." "Oh, dear! I am so sorry," began Jo!

sephine.

:

CHAPTER XXXIV. Edouard Riviere contrived one Saturday night to work off all arrears of business, and start for Beaurepaire. He had received a very kind letter from Laure, and his longing to see her overpowered him. On the road his eyes often glittered and his cheek flushed with expectation. At last he got there. His heart beat for four months he had not seen her. He ran up into the drawingroom, and there found the baroness alone she welcomed him cordially, but soon let him know Laure and her sister were at Frejus. His heart sank. Frejus was a long way off. But this was not all. Laure's letter was dated from Beaurepaire, yet it must have been written at He w^ent to Jacintha, and deFrejus. manded an explanation of this. The ready Jacintha said it looked as if she ;

;

meant to be home directly. " That is a hint for me to get rooms ready," said Jacintha.

their

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

200

"This

letter

must have come here inEdouard sternly.

closed in another," said

" Like enough," replied Jacintha, with an appearance of sovereign indifference. Edouard looked at her. "I will go to Frejus."

"So

:





know." Edouard hesitated but he ended by sending Dard to the town on his own horse with orders to leave him at the inn and borrow a fresh horse, " I shall just have time," said he. He rode to Frejus and inquired at the inns and the :

Mademoiselle de Beaureknow her then he inquired for Madame Raynal. No such name known. He rode by the seaside upon the chance of their seeing him no Pie paraded on horseback throughout the in hopes every moment that a window would open, and a fair face shine at it, At last his time and call to him no was up, and he was obliged to ride back

post-ofiice for

They

did not

:





!

!

—sick at heart— to Beaurepaire.

He told

the baroness with some natural irritation what had happened. She was as much surprised as he was. " I write to Madame Raynal at the post-office,

" ters

Frejus," said she. gets your

And Madame Raynal ?

let-

"

" Of course she does, since she answers you cannot have inquired at the

them

;

post."

"Madame, it was the first place I inquired at, and neither Mademoiselle de Beaurepaire nor

known

Madame Raynal were

there."

Both parties were positive, and Jawho could have given the clew, seemed so puzzled herself, that they did not even apply to her. Edouard took a sorrowful leave of the baroness, and set out on his journey home. Oh how sad and weary that ride seemed now by what it had been, coming. His disappointment was deep and irritating, and, ere he had ridden half way, a torturer fastened on his heart. That torcintha,

!

;

:

would," said Jacintha, faltering a little, but not perceptibly " you might meet them on the road if so be they come the same road there are two roads, you I

paire.

ture is called suspicion a vague and shadowy, but gigantic phantom, that oppresses and rends the mind more terribly than certainty. In this state of vague, sickening suspicion he remained some days then came an affectionate letter from Laure, who had actually returned home. In this she expressed her regret and disappointment at having missed him ; blamed herself for misleading him, but explained that their stay at Frejus had been prolonged from day to day far beyond her expectation. " The stupidity of the post-office was more than she could account for," said she. But what went furthest to console Edouard was that after this contretemps she never ceased

him to come to Beaurepaire. before this, though she said riiany kind and pretty things in her letters, she

to invite

Now

had never invited him to visit the chateau he had noticed this. " Sweet soul," thought he, " she really is vexed. I must be a brute to think any more about it. Still " So this wound was skinned over. At last, what he called his lucky star ;



ordained that he should be transferred to the very post his Commandant Raj-nal had once occupied. He sought and obtained permission to fix his quarters in the little village near Beaurepaire. This arrangement could not be carried out for three months ; but the prospect of it was joyful to both lovers. jo3'f ul all that time Laure needed this consolation, for she was very unhappy. Her beloved sister since their return from Frejus had fallen into a state that gave her hourly sorrow and The flush of health was gone anxiety. from Josephine's cheek, and so was her late energy. She fell back into deep depression and languor, broken occasionally by fits of



nervous irritation. She would sit for hours together at one window. Can the reader guess which waj^ that window looked? Laure trembled for two things her life and her reason. But Edouard would come he was a favorite of Josephine he would help to distract her attention from those sorrows which a lapse of 3'ears alone could cure. On every account, then, Edouard's visit



:

:

.

WHITE was looked forward

to with

hope and

He came. He was received with open arms. He took up his quarters at his old but spent his evenings, and

lodging's,

every leisure hour, at the chateau. He was very much in love, and showed it. He adhered to his Laure like a leech and followed her about like a little dog, and was alwa3'S happy at the bare sight ;

of her.

This would have made her very happy she had had nothing great to distract her attention and her heart ; but she had Josephine, whose deep depression and fits of irritation and terror filled her with anxiety ; and so Edouard was in the way now and then. On these occasions he was too vain to see what she was too polite to if

show him

offensively.

this she

became vexed at

his ob-

201

"I have not only seen

it done, but have myself " "Then do it for us. There's my arm, take blood from that for dear Josephine " and she thrust a white arm out under his eye with such a bold movement and such a look of fire and love as never beamed from common eyes keen, cold pang shot through the human heart of Edouard Riviere. The doctor started and gazed at, her with admiration then he hung his head. "I could not do it. I love you both too it

!

!

A

;

well to drain either of

Laure veiled her :

:

said the doctor.

time."

he.

for her."

He was

just beginning

of Josephine,

occurred

when the

to be jealous

following incident

:

Laure and the doctor were discussing Edouard pretended to be Josephine. reading a book, but he listened to every word At last. Dr. St. Aubin gave it as his opinion that Madame Raynal did not make enough blood. '^ Oh if I thought that " exclaimed !

Laure. " Well, then,

!

it is so, I

assure you."

'' do you rememday you said blood could be drawn from young veins and poured into old ones?" " I don't remember saying so, but it is

*',Doctor," said Laure,

ber, one

a well known fact." "And healthy blood into a sick pa" tient ? Certainly." "I don't believe it." " Then you place a very narrow limit to science," said the doctor, coldly. " Did you ever see it done ? " asked Laure.

current."

and began to

" Once a week just once a week, dear, dear doctor you know I should never miss it. I am so full of that health which Heaven denies to her I love." "Let us try milder measures first,"

Does he think I can be always at his beck and call?" said she. " She is always after her sister," said *'

life's

fire,

coax.

tuseness.

'^

;

LIES.

done

joy.

On



!

"I have most

faith in

" What if I were to take her to Frejus': hitherto the sea has always done wonders "Frejus by all means," said Edouard, mingling suddenly in the conversation "and this time I will go with you, and then I shall find out where 3'ou lodged before, and how the boobies came to say they did not know you." Laure bit her lip. It flashed across her just then how much Edouard was in her

way and

Their best friends

Josephine's.

are in the

way

who have secrets. went to his study.

of those

Presentl^^ the doctor

Edouard began in a mock soliloquy. " I wonder whether any one will ever love me well enough to give a drop of their blood for

me

" !

" If you were in sickness and sorrow

who knows? " "I would soon

be in sickness and sorrow if I thought that." "Don't jest with such matters, monsieur."

"

I

don't jest.

I wish I

was as

ill

as

Madame Raj^nal is, to be loved as she is." " You must resemble her in other things to be loved as she is."

" You have often made me late,

dear Laure."

feel

that of

:

202

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

This touched her. kindly feeling-.

She foug-ht down the

"

am

g-lad of it," said she,

I told

me."

you

so.

You have not

don't say that, dear Laure. I have every confidence in you now don't ask me to divest myself of my senses and my reason." " I don't ask you to do that or any thingelse for me— ait plaisir." " Where are you g-oing- now ? he he :

!

g-et

!

a word of peace with

am g-oing- up stairs to my sister." " Poor Madame Raynal, she makes it very hard for me not to dislike her." "Dislike my Josephine?" and Laure " I

bristled visibly.

" She angel

if

is it

an

me you ask? am

it

Secrets are

overcome.

trusted

I

a bond that It

to

is

talk

you run away from me to Madame Raynal."

"Well," taug-ht

said Laure, coolly,

me ?

"

" Colonel Dujardin

?

"and who

"

Laure was taken quite aback

:

she mis-

understood for a moment the direction of Edouard's jealousy. He eyed her with swelling- suspicion. She let him g-o on this wrong tack a while. By and by she " Was it Colonel Dujardin who said taught me reticence ? I thought it had been yourself." " Do I deserve this sarcasm ? The reticence that spring's from affection is one thing" that which comes from the want :

another. Where did j^ou lodg-e at Frejus, mademoiselle the Reticent ? " "In a g-rotto, dry at low water, monsieur the Inquisitive." of

it is

" That is enoug-h, since you will not tell me, I will find it out before I am a week older."

" Monsieur, I thank you for playing- the tyrant a little prematurely it has put me on my guard. Let us part we are not suited to each other." " Part Laure ? that is a terrible word to pass between you- and me. Forgive me I suppose I am jealous." :

but I should hate an came forever between you and ang-el,

me." " Excuse me, she was here long before you. It is you that come between her and me." " I came because I was told I should be welcome," said Edouard, bitterly, and equivocating a little: he added, "and I dare say I shall g-o, when I am told I am one too many." "Bad heart who says you are one too many in the house ? But you are too exigeant, monsieur j^ou assume the husband, and you tease me. It is selfish can you not see I am anxious and worried ? you oug-ht to be kind to me and soothe me that is what I look for from yon, and, instead of that, you are a never-ending worry." "I should not be if j'ou loved me as I ]ove you. I give you no rival. Shall I tell you the cause of all this ? You have !

:

:

:

secrets."

"

:

"Pray

I never can you."

?

secrets

:

"There!

secrets

with them? nothing- can

:

confidence in

What

"Is

out of perverseness. She added after a while ''Edouard, you are naturally jealous!" ^'Not the least in the world, Laure, I assure j'ou. I have many faults but jealous I am not." ' ' You are, and suspicious, too there is something- in your character that alarms me for our happiness." " There are thing-s in your conduct, Laure, I could wish explained." I

"

!

!

!

"You are—^you vc\.\

you

sister. :

Well,

but I love

are actually jealous of I tell

you plainly

my sister better.

I love

I

never

could love any man as I do her it is ridiculous to expect it." "And you think I could bear to- play second fiddle to her all my life ? " :

"I don't ask you. Go and play first trumpet with some other lady." " You speak j^our wishes so plainly now, I have nothing to do but to obey."

He

kissed

her hand, and went

away

disconsolatel3^

Laure, instead of going to Josephine, her determination to do which had mainly' caused the quarrel, sat sadly down, and leaned her head on her hand. "lam cruel I am ungrateful he ha« !

!



"

WHITE

!

LIES.

203

and what played with mine, and make yow suffer gone away broken-hearted ? I what I suffer now " little fool without him shall I do And with a burst of inarticulate grief love him better than he loves me. He I have wounded and rage he flung out of the room. will never forgive me Laure sank trembling on the sofa a his vanity and they are vainer than we little while then with a mighty effort are If we meet at dinner, I will be so rose and went to comfort her sister. kind to him, he will forg-et it all. No Edouard came no more to BeaureEdouard will not come to dinner. He is not a spaniel that you can beat, and then paire. whistle back again. Something tells me and, if I have, what There is an old French proverb, and a I have lost him I wise one, Rien n'esf certain que Vimshall I do ? I will write him a note. " prevu : it means you can make sure of will ask him to forgive me She sat down at the table, and took a nothing but this, that matters will not sheet of note-paper and began to write a turn as you feel sure they will and for few conciliatory words. She was so occu- this reason you, who are thinking of pied in making these kind enough, and suicide because trade is declining, specunot too kind, that a light step approached lation failing, bankruptcy impending, or her unobserved. She looked up and there your life going to be blighted forever by was Edouard. She whipped the paper off unrequited love don't do it whether the table. you are English, American, French, or A spasm of suspicion crossed Edouard's German, listen to a man that knows what do it. Why not? face. is what, and donH Laure caught it. because none of those horrors will affect "Well," said she. you as j^ou are prophesying they will. " Dear Laure, I came back to beg you The ]oys we expect are not so bright, to forget what passed just now." nor the troubles so dark, as we fancy Laure's eye flashed his return showed they will be. Bankruptcy coming is one hei" her power. She abused it directly. thing, come is quite another and no **How can I forget it if you come heart or life can be really blighted at reminding me? " twenty years of age. The love-sick girls, ** Dear Laure, now don't be so unkind, that are picked out of the canal alive, so cruel I have not come back to tease marrN'- another man, have eight brats, you, sweet one. I come to know what and screech with laughter when they I can do to please you to make 3'ou lovo think of sweetheart, and .probably blockme again ? " head, No. 1, for whom they were fools *' I'll tell you. Don't come near me for enough to wet themselves, let alone kill a month." themselves. This happens invariably. Edouard started from his knees, white The love-sick girls, that are picked out as ashes with mortification and wounded of the canal dead, have fled from shortlove. lived memory to eternal misery, from **This is how you treat me for hum- guilt that time nev^er failed to cure to bling myself, when it is you that ought to anguish incurable. In this world rein ask forgiveness n'est certain que Vimprevu. " Why should I ask what I don't care Edouard and Laure were tender lovers, about ? " at a distance. How much happier and **What do you care about? except more loving they thought they should be that sister of yours. You have no heart. beneath the same roof. They came toAnd on this cold-blooded creature I have gether. Their prominent faults of charwasted a love an empress might have acter rubbed the secret that was in the been proud of inspiring I pray God house did its work and, altogether, they some man maj' sport with your affec- quarreled. tions, 3^ou heartless creature, as you have Dard had been saying to Jacmtha for !



!

!

!



:

!

!

;

!

;



:

;



:

!



:

!

:

"

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

204

long-, ''When granny dies, I will marry you." Granny died. Dard took possession of her little propert3\ Up came a glittering- official, and turned him out. He was not her heir. Perrin the notary was her

ever so

He bought the inheritance of her two sons, long since dead. Dard had not only looked on the cottage and cow as his, but had spoken The disappointment, of them for ^'ears. and the irony of his comrades, ate into heir.

him. *'

I

will

leave

this

cursed

place

?

said he.

Josephine instantly sent for him to Beaurepaire. He came, and was factotum, with the novelty of a fixed salary. Jacintha found him a new little odd job or two. She set him to dance on the oak floors with a brush fastened to his right foot and, after a rehearsal or two, she made him wait at table. Didn't he bang the things about and when he brought a lady a dish, and she did not instantly attend, he gave her elbow a poke to then, she squeaked attract attention and he grinned at her double absurdity in minding a touch, and not minding the real business of the table. His wrongs rankled in him. He vented ;

!

:

antique phrases. ''I want a change this village, is the last place the Almighty made," etc. He was attacked with a moral disease, viz., he affected the company of soldiers. They had seen the world. He spent his weekly salary carousing with the military, a class of men so brilliant that they are not expected to pay for their share in the drink ; they contribute the anecdotes and the familiar appeals to



Heaven. Present at man}'- recitals, the heroes of lost nothing by being their own historians, Dard imbibed a taste for miliHis very talk, which tar\^ adventure. used to be so homely, began now to be tinseled with big swelling words of vanity imported from the army, I need hardly sa}' these bombastical phrases did not elevate his general dialect they lay distinct upon the surface, " like lumps of

which

:

marl upon a barren soil, encumbering the ground they cannot fertilize." Jacintha reminded him of an incident connected with warfare wounds. " Do you remember how you were down upon your luck when you did but cut your foot ? Why, that is nothing in the army. They never go out to fight but some come back with arms off, and some with legs off, and some with heads, and some don't come back at all, and how would you like



that?" This view of warfare at first cooled Dard's impatience for the field. But the fighting half of his heart received an ally in one Sergeant La Croix not a bad name for a military aspirant. This sergeant was at the village on a short leave of absence, and was now only waiting to :

march the new recruits to Paris, to join the army of the Khine. Sergeant La Croix was a man who could, by the force of his eloquence, make soldiering appear the most delightful as well as glorious of human pursuits. His tongue fired the inexperienced soul with a love of arms, as do the drums and trumpets and gallant ringing tread of soldiers marching under colors that blaze and bayonets that glitter in the sun. He would have been invaluable in England where we recruit by jargon. He was superfluous in France, where they recruited hy compul-

but he was ornamental, and he set Dard and one or two more on fire. Sergeant La Croix had so keen a sense of sion

:

military glory, that he did not deign to to that merely verbal honor

descend

civilians call veracity.

To speak

plainly, the sergeant

was a

fluent, fertile, interesting, sonorous, ever_

ready and most audacious

and such

liar:

was his success, that Dard and one or two more became mere human fiction pipes, irrigating a small

rural district

with false views of military

life,

from that inexhaustible spring.

derived

At

last

long-threatened conscription was every person fit to bear arms, levied and not coming under the allowed exceptions, had a number given him and at a certain hour the numbers corresponding the

:

,

to these were deposited in an urn,

and



"

WHITE one-third of them were drawn in presence Those men whose the authorities. numbers were drawn had to g-o for solof

Jacintha awaited the result in g-reat tremor. She could not sit at home. She left the chateau, and went down the road to meet Dard, who had promised to come and tell her the result as soon as known. At last she saw him approaching- in a disconsolate wa3^ '* Oh, Dard, speak are we undone ? are you a dead man ? " cried she. ** What d'3'^e mean ? " diers.

!

^

**Have they inade a soldier *'

No

such luck

:

I shall die

of

you?"

a man-of-all-

work."

And you

are sorry ? you unnatural monster you have no feeling for me, then ?" " Oh, yes I have but glory is No. 1 with me now, citizeness " " How loud the little bantams crow You leave glory to six feet high, Dard." ** General Bonaparte isn't much higher than I am, and glory sits upon his brow. Why shouldn't glory sit upon my ''

little

!

;

!

!

!

brow ? " "Because it would weigh you down, and smother you, j^ou little fool." " Oh, we know you girls don't care for reputation." "Don't we, though?" " But you care for the blunt."

"Agreed!" **

Well, then, soldiers are the boys that

make it." " La £)ard, I never heard that before." " At the wars, I mean pillaging and !

:

cetera, not on three sous a

day here at Jacintha," said Dard, lowering his voice mysteriously, "there's scarce a soldier in the army that hasn't got a thousand francs hid

Why,

home

of course.

in his

knapsack."

"La! now! use

of

it

if

But, then, what

he

is

to

be

killed

the next

is

minute?" "I'll

tell

you.

When

the soldier

is

"Yes, Dard." " The general turns it into paper money, and sends it home to the Min-

War."

205

"Ay!

like

enough."

''He takes it, and puts as much ^o it out of the public chest then he sends it all to the dead man's wife, or, if he has got no wife, to his sweetheart. Then with that she can marry the chap that she has been taking up with all the time the first was getting his brains knocked out. Oh, I am up to all the moves now! " "But, Dard, youi forget, I couldn't bear you to be killed at any price." "No more could I," was the frank reply; "but I shouldn't. The enemy always fire too high that's through nervishness We've licked 'em so often. Most of the bullets go over our army altogether into the trees round about the field of battle the chaps that do get killed are your six-foot ones their stupid heads are always in the way of everything, j^ou know. My heart is quite down about it, girl. Here is my number, " ninety-nine :

:

!

:

:

!

" And sure

9

it

was not drawn, Dard, you are

"

"No! I tell you that I saw them all drawn. I saw the last number in the gentleman's hand it was sixty something. So I came to tell \'ou, because :



because " Because you were as glad as I am. I don't think but what a bullet would kill a little one as well as a big one. You are well out of that, Dard. Come and help me draw the water." " Well since there is no immortal glory to be picked up to-da3% I will go in for odd jobs again." " That is j'^ou, Dard. That is what you are fittest for." While they were drawing the water, a voice was heard hallooing. Dard looked up, and there was a rigid military figure, with a tremendous mustache, peering !

Dard was overjoyed.

about.

my friend it is my boon companion Come here, old fellow. Ain't I glad to see you that is all ? " La Croix marched toward the pair. "What are you skulking here for, rercuit ninety - nine ? " said he, sternly, dropping the boon companion in the sergeant " the rest are on the road." "

It is !

dead—"

ister of

LIES.

!

,

!

:

''The

what do yon

rest, old fellow?

mean? why,

I

was not drawn."

"Yes, you were." "No, I wasn't." " Thunder of war, but I say \'ou were. Yours was the last number." " That is an unluck}^ guess of yours, " for I saw the last number. Look here and he fumbled in his pocket and pro:

duced his number. • La Croix instantlj'^ fished out a corresponding- number.

"Well; and here you are; the last number drawn." Dard burst out laughing-.

"You

g-oose," said he,

"that

this

was

oh oh oh " Dard (angrily). "Do drop that, Jacintha do you think that is encouraging? Sergeant, I told this poor girl all about glory before you came, but she was not ripe for it say something to cheer her

is

sixty-

" Oh

Jacintha.

!

oh

!

!

!

!





up, for I can't."

" I can " cried this trumpet of battle, emptying its glass. "Attention, young !

woman." " Oh dear oh dear yes, sir." "A French soldier is a man who ries France in his heart." !

"But

—look at it."

if

!

the cruel foreign soldiers

car-

kill

him? oh!" " If they do, he does not care a Every man must die horses likewise and dogs, and donkeys when they come to the end of their troubles. But dogs and donkeys and chaps in blouses can't die gloriously as Dard may, if he has any luck at all .so from this hour, if there was twice as little of him, be proud of him, for from this time he is a part of France and her renown. Come, recruit



;

" roared the sergeant, "no more than yours is they are both sixtysixes when you play tricks with them, and turn them up like that but they are both ninety-nines when you look at

"

.

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

206

six







"

Sixt^'^-six,



;

them fair." Dard scratched his head. "Come, no shirking make up his bundle, girl, and let us be off, we have got our marching orders. We are going to ;

the Rhine."

:

ninety-nine, shoulder your traps at duty's

Attenlet us go off in form. Ten thousand Quick, march devils is that the way I showed you to march ? Didn't I tell you to start from the left leg ? Now try again. Quick march left, right left, right left, right. tion

" And do you think I will let him go ? " screamed Jacintha. "No! I will say one word to Madame Ra3mal, and she will buy

him a substitute directly." Dard stopped her fiercely.

!

!

!

!



!

Now

"No I have told all in the village that would go the first chance it is come, and I'll go. I won't stay to be laughed at about this too. If I was sure to be cut give over blubbering, in pieces, I'd go my lass, and get us a bottle of the best wine, and while we are drinking it, the sergeant and I, you make up my bundle. I shall never do any good here." Jacintha knew the obstinate toad. She did as she was bid, and soon the little bundle was ready, and the two men faced the wine La Croix, radiant and bellicose Dard, crestfallen but dogged (for there was a little bit of good French stuff at the bottom of the creature), and Jacintha rocking herself, with her apron over !

I

and

call,

;



got it drat ye keep it, left, right— left, right— left, right." And the sergeant marched the little 3^ou've

odd-jobber to the wars.

!

CHAPTER XXXV.

:



her head. *

La Croix. "I'll give Here's gunpowder.'

you a

toast.

Josephine. to

"Laure, the doctor

is

cold

me."

Laure. "And to me too." Josephine. "I have noticed it ever since we came from Frejus, Laure." Laure. " Yes, and I have no patience '* with him of course j^ou know why it is ? ;

"

WHITE " No

Josephine. did

!

would to Heaven

*'It

jealousy;

is

are twice as jealous as twice as many things. doctor at Frejus." It

!

!

ment

yourself. *

!

men

these

and about

are,

We had

another

could I help?

must be more than

" he suspects " No, dear Laure.

said,

we

"But how

Josephine. if

207

Edouard, the moment his temper cooled, sad. He longed to be friends again with Laure, but he did not know how. His own pride held him back, and so did his fear that he had gone too far, and that his offended mistress would not

became very

!

Laure.

No

I

LIES.

Oh

that.

!

What

!

saw

I

!

now

don't tor-

when he with another

his face

I decline to interfere

' Another doctor's doctor's patients such a phrase " patients too !

'

!

'

!

Josephine. " Pray Heaven you may He is very cold to us, espebe right cialW to me." Laure (sharply). "Don't be fanciful, dear." " Forgive me. Let us Josephine. something else. What have speak of you done to Edouard ? " Laure. "That is a question I have answered, let me see, twelve times." " Yes, Laure, but your Josephine. answers were no answers at all, and I want the truth." Laure. "He is a little ill-tempered^ jealous, tyrannical wretch." Josephine. " Who is he jealous of ? " Laure made a face and began to count on her fingers. "First, of Camille Du!

an

listen to

offer of reconciliation

from

him.

He

sat down alone meals. No sweet mellow voices in his ear after the fatigues of the day. His landlady brought him in a letter in a lady's handwriting. His heart gave a leap. But, on examining it, he was disappointed. It was something like Laure 's, but it was not hers. It proved to be three lines from Josephine, requesting him to come and speak to her. He went over directly. Josephine was in the Pleasance. "What has she been doing to you, dear ? " began she kindly. " Has not she told you, Madame Ray" nal ?

now

a change

to all his

!

little

"No!" "But

and make you friends again." Laure opened her mouth to remon-

she has told you what i said to " said Edouard, looking uneasy. No she is refractor3^ She will tell me nothing and that makes me fear she is the one in fault." " Oh, if she does not accuse me, I am sure I will not accuse her. I dare say I am to blame it is not her fault that I cannot make her love me." " But you can she does." " Yes but she loves others better, and she holds me out no hope it will ever be otherwise. You are an angel, Josephine but on this one point how can I hope for your sympathy. Alas you are

strate, but Josephine implored her to let

my

her have, her own wa3^ " I have not many joys, Laure this one we can all have, the pleasure of making peace between our friends that misunderstand one another." "' My poor sister " cried Laure, " when will you think of yourself, and leave fools

"

_

jardin."

Josephine. " Oh " Laure. " Secondl}^ of Josephine de Beaurepaire." Josephine. " Ah " Laure. " Thirdly, of all the world." Josephine. " I must hear his account, !

!

:

!

and egotists to mend their own break-

ages?"

"You Laure

?

"

consent to No answer.

my

interference,

her "

?

:

;

:

:

!

;

!

most

terrible rival."

I don't understand you." " She told me plainly she never could love rae as she loves you." " And you believed her ? " " I saw no reason to disbelieve her." " Foolish bo3^ Dear Edouard, you myst not attach so much importance to every word we say. Does my sister at her age know everything ? is she a prophet? Perhaps she really fancies she will alwaj's love her sister as she !

; :

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

208

does now; but you are a man of sense you ought to smile and let her talk. When you marry her you will take her to your own house. She will only see me now and then. She will have you and Each your affection always present. day some new tie between you and her. You two will share every joy, every sorrow. Your children plajang- at your feet, and reflecting- the features of both paryour hearts ents, will make you one :

will melt together in that blessed union

which raises earth so near to heaven and then you will wonder yon could ever be jealous of poor Josephine, who must never hope ah me " Edouard, wrapped up in himself, mistook Josephine's emotion at the picture He she had drawn of conjugal love. soothed her, vowed upon his honor he never would separate Laure from her.



*'

My dear

!

!

sister," he cried

:

'*3'ou are

an angel and I am a fiend. Jealousy must be the meanest of all sentiments.



never will be jealous again above all, angel after all, sister, are my as well you as hers, and she has a right to love you since I love you." *' You make me vevy happy when you talk so," sighed Josephine: "peace is made ? " I

jealous of you, sweet

:

"What

can you expect, my 3'^oung mother had to rise and go about when she ought to have been in her bed and now she has not enough to give it." " Oh, dear " cried Josephine. " Jacintha," she cried, "give them some good food, and a nice bottle of wine." " That I will," cried Jacintha, changlady

? its

:

!

ing her tone, with courtier-like alacrity. " I did not see she was nursing." Josephine put a franc into the infant's hand the little fingers closed on it with that instinct of appropriation, which is our first, and often our last sentiment. Josephine smiled lovingly on the child, and the child seeing that gave a small crow. "Bless it," said Josephine, and thereupon her lovely head reared itself like a crested snake's, and then darted down on the child and the young noble kissed the beggar's brat as if she would eat it. This won the mother's heart more than even the gifts. " Blessings on you, mj^lady," she cried. " I pray the Lord not to forget this when a woman's trouble comes on you in j'our turn It is a small child, mademoiselle, but it is not an unhealthy one. See." Inspection was ofi'ered and eagerly accepted. Edouard stood looking on at some distance in amazement, mingled with dis:

:

!

" Never again to be broken. I will go and ask her pardon. What is the matter

gust.

now? "

him,

Jacintha was cackling very loud, and dismissing with ignominy two beggars, male and female. Jacintha was industry personified, and had no sympathy with mendicity. In vain the couple protested. Heaven knows with what truth, that they were not beggars, but mechanics out of work. " March tramp " was Jacintha's least word. She added, giving the rein to her imagination, ''I'll loose the dog." The man moved away, the woman turned appealingly to Edouard. He and JosephShe had got ine came toward the group. a sort of large hood, and in that hood she carried an infant on her shoulders. Josephine inspected this arrangement. **It looks sickly, poor little thing." !

!

"

" said he, when she rejoined could you kiss that nasty brat "

Ugh "

little

!

how !

" Dear Edouard, don't speak so of a poor little innocent. Who would pity

them

if

we women

not

did

?

It

had

lovely' ej'-es."

" Like saucers

" !

"Yes." "

It

is

no compliment when you are

affectionate

to

anybody

:

you overflow

with benevolence on all creation like the rose which sheds its perfume on the first comer." "If he is not going to be jealous of me next " whined Josephine. She took him to Laure, and she said: " There, whenever good friends quarrel, ;

!

it

is

understood they were Doth in the B^-^-gones are co be by.goues

wrong.

WHITE and, when your time comes round to quarrel again, pie se consult me first, since

it is

me you

will afflict."

She left them together and went and tapped timidly at the doctor's study. Monsieur St. Aubin received her with none of that coldness she had seen in him. He appeared both surprised and pleased at her visit to his little sanctum. He even showed an emotion Josephine was at a But that wore off loss to account for. during the conversation. ''Dear friend," said she, '* I come to consult 3^ou about Laure and Edouard." She then told him what had happened, and hinted at Edouard's one fault.

The doctor smiled. "It is curious," said he. "You have come to draw my attention to a point on which it has been fixed for some days past. I am preparing a cure for the two young fools a severe remedy, but in their case a sure one." He then showed her a deed wherein he had settled sixty thousand francs on Laure and her children. " Edouard has a good place. He is active and rising, and with my sixty thousand francs, and a little purse of ten thousand more for furniture and nonsense, they can marry next week if they like. Yes, marriage is a medicine which acts differently on good men and good women. She does not love him quite enough. He loves her a little Cure marriage. " too much. Cure marriage "Oh, doctor!" " Can't help it. I did not make men and women. We must take human nature as we find it, and thank God for it on the whole. Have you nothing else to confide " to me, my dear ? :



"No,

I



!

LIES.

209

Meantime,

in

another room, a recon-

was taking place, and the mutual concessions of two impetuous, but ciliation scene

generous

spirits.

The doctor's generosity transpired in the house, and the wedding became an understood thing. All Laure asked for was to see more color in Josephine's cheek. " I could not leave her as she is, and I will not." leave her at all?" said Edou-

"Why

"we will have her my dear commandant

ard: till

and nurse her comes back to

her."

The baroness's sight had failed considerBut the ably for some months past. appearance was too Josephine's in change marked to escape her. She often asked Laure what could be the matter. "Some passing ailment." "Passing? She has been so, on and ofl', a long time." " The doctor is sure she will outgrow it."

" Pray Heaven she may. She makes anxious." Laure made light of it to her mother, but in her own heart she grew more and more anxious day by day. She held secret conferences with Jacintha that sagacious personage had a plan to wake Josephine from her deathly languor, and even soothe her nerves, and check those pitiable fits of nervous irritation to which she had become subject. Unfortunately Jacintha's plan was so difficult and so dangerous that at first even the courageous Laure recoiled from it but there are dangers that seem to diminish when you look them long in the face.

me very

:

;

doctor."

" Are you sure, my child ? " " No, dear friend." " Then there is only this thing in which can co-operate with you ? " " But this is very near my heart," fal-

tered Josephine.

The doctor sighed. He then said gently— •" They shall be happy as happy as you wish them.'* :

(N)

The whole party was seated in the taproom Jacintha was there, sewing

estried

:

a pair of sheets, at a respectful distance from the gentlefolks, absorbed in her work but with both ears on full cock. The doctor, holding his glasses to his eye, had just begun to read out the Moniteur. The baroness sat close to him Edouard, opposite ; and the young ladies. ;

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

210

each in her corner of a large luxurious

some 'little distance. " The Austrians left seventy cannon,

sofa, at '

thousand men, and three colors upon the field Aha sig-ht

.

'

** '

Army

!

the North. General Menard defeated the enemy after a severe engagement, taking thirteen fieldpieces and a quantity of ammunition.' The military news ought to be printed larger instead of smaller than the rest." The baroness. "And there is never anything in the Moniteur." " The deuce there is not." St. Auhin. Baroness. **It is always the same thing it is only the figures that vary. So many cannon taken, so many forof

:

and so many colors. There is never anything about Egypt, the only tresses,

thing that interests people." Auhin. '''Army of the Rhine.' aS'^. If I was king, I would put down small it is tlie greatest foe knowledge type ;

has.

'

A sanguinary

thousand wounded.

of

engagement

—eight

enemy killed and have some losses to

the

We

lament. The Colonel Dujardin Josephine. "Ah!"



" '

Baroness. " Only wounded, I hope ? " " At the head of the 22d St. Auhin. Brigade, made a brilliant charge on the enemy's fiank, that is described in the general order as having decided the fate Bravo, well done, Caof the battle.' " mille '

!

Baroness. " How badly you do read, monsieur. I thought he was gone instead of that he has covered himself with glory but it is all our doing, is it not, young ladies ? We saved his life." " We saved it among us, St. Auhin. madaine." " What is the matter, Edouard. Laure ? " Laure. " Nothing give me the salts, ;

;

:

quick."

She

baroness, cheerf uUj'^ ; " there is nobody killed that we care about." Jacintha. " If you please, monsieur, " is there anything about Dard ?

" There won't be an^'St. Auhin. thing about him, till he is knocked on the head." Jacintha. " Then I don't want to hear anything about him at all." At this very moment, the new servant, Fanchette, whom the baroness had hired, to Jacintha's infinite disgust, brought in the long-expected letter from Egypt. Baroness. " Here is something better than salts for you. It is a long letter, Josephine, and all in his own hand. So he is safe, thank Heaven I was beginning to be uneasy again. You frightened me for that poor Camille; but this is worth a dozen Camilles. This is mj'^son I would give my old life for him. " My dear mother,' (bless him !) * my dear wife, and my dear sister (well, you sit there like two rocks !) We have just gained a battle fifty colors.' (What do you think of that ?) All the enemy's baggage and ammunition are in our hands.' (This is something like a battle, this one.) 'Also the Pasha of Natolie.' (Ah the Pasha of Natolie an important personage, no doubt, though I never had the honor of hearing of him. Do 3'ou hear? you on the sofa. My son has captured the Pasha of Natolie. He is as brave as Caesar.) But this success is not one of those that lead to important results (never mind, a victory is a victory I) and I think we shall be a long time in this confounded country.' " Here a glance quick as lightning passed between Josephine and Laure. " Have you news of your patient, my old companion in arms, Dujardin ? I spoke of him to Bonaparte the other day. A thorough soldier, that fellow.' (So he is and a charming young man.) Come here, Josephine." She read to Josephine in a somewhat lower tone of voice: " 'Tell my wife I love her more and more every da3^ I don't expect as much from her, but she will make me very happy if she can !

:

'

'

!



'



'



!



'

'

'

'

:

passed them, as it were, under lier own nostrils then held them to Josephine, who was now observed to be trembling all over. Laure contrived to make it appear that this was mere sympathy on Josephine's part. "Don't be silly, girls," cried the onl}^

;

make do.'

shift to like

No danger

!

me as well

as her family

What husband deserves



— WHITE to be loved as he does

?

turn, that his wife, his

may

sister

long for his re-

mother and

his

combine to teach this poor

what happiness means.

soldier

him

all

I

ever^'^thing, Josephine,

and

We if

owe

we

did

not love him, and make him happy, we should be monsters now should we not ?" Josephine. "Yes." " Now, you may all of you read his letJacintha and all," said the baronter. ;

ess, graciously.

Meantime the conversed with St. Aubin in quite an undertone. " My friend, look at that child " " " child ?

The

letter circulated.

baroness

!

What

I See how "Josephine. it the moment she came near

pale she

is.

noticed

me." " Her nerves are weak, and !

:



And

she carried off the rest of the part3% the same time Jacintha asked permission to pass the rest of the evening with her relations in the village. But wh3^ that swift, quivering glance of intelligence between Jacintha and Laure de Beaurepaire when the baroness

At

said

:

"Yes, certainly." and the doctor

Josephine

211

whisper and her mother glance her way, and the whole woman was on her guard. She assumed a languid complacency, and, by way of shield, if necessary, took some work, and bent her eyes and apparently her attention on it. The doctor was silent and ill at ease. She saw he had something weighty on his mind, and that it would come out, unvague fear less she could divert it. prompted her to avoid all weighty topics. So she said quietly " The air would have done me no

A

harm."

/

"Neither will a few words with me." " Oh, no dear friend. I think I should have liked a little walk this evening." " I played the tyrant. A friend is sometimes a tyrant " "I forgive you. My walk is not lost, since I gain a tete-a-tete with you in exchange for it." The doctor took no notice of this somewhat hollow speech. There was another silence. A very long one. "Josephine," said the doctor, quietly, " when you were a child I saved j'our !

!

I fright-

ened her." "No no it is more than that. She has lost her appetite. She never laughs. She sighs. That girl is ill, or else she is going to be ill." "Neither the one nor the other, madame," said St. Aubin, looking her coolly in the face. " But I say she is. Is a doctor's eye keener than a mother's ? " "Considerably," replied the doctor, with cool and enviable effrontery. The baroness rose. " Now, children, for our evening walk. We shall enjoy it now." " I trust you may but for all that I must forbid the evening air to one of the party to Madame Raynal." The baroness came to him and whispered "That is right. Thank j'^ou. See what is the matter with her, and tell me." !

LIES.

\Vere

left

alone.

Josephine had noticed the old people

life."

" I have often heard my mother speak of it. I was choked by the croup, and you had the courage to lance my windpipe."

"Had I?" said He added,

the doctor, with a gravely, "It seems then that to be cruel is sometimes kindness. Josephine, we love those whose life we have saved." smile.

"And

they love you."

" Since that daj^ Josephine, how many kind offices, how sweet and sacred an affection, between' us two.

Many

a father

and daughter might have taken a lessen from us."



" From you, my second father not from me." "Yet I have to reproach jon or myself. For after all these years I have failed to inspire you with confidence." The doctor's voice was sad, and Josephine's bosom panted. " Pray do not saj'- so," she cried. " I would trust you with my life." "But not, it seems, with your secret."



"

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

212

"My

secret

?

What

secret

?

I

have no

secrets."

"Josephine, you have now for full twelve months suffered in body and mind ; yet you have never come to me for counsel, for comfort, for an old man's experience and advice, or even for medical aid."



"But, dear friend, I assure you "We do not deceive our friend.

We

cannot deceive our doctor." Josephine trembled, but women are not to be drawn as men are. She fought every inch of ground after the manner of her sex. "Dear doctor," said she, "I the better for this. Your for once blinded your science. I am not so robust as you have known me, but there is nothing- serious the matter with me. Let us talk of something else. Besides, it is not interesting to talk about one's self." "Very well, since there is nothing serious or interesting in your case, we will love

you

all

regard for

me has

talk about something that

is

both serious

and interesting."

"With all my heart " and she smiled content at averting criticism from her:

self.

"We will talk about your child." The work dropped from Josephine's hands she turned her face wildly on St. ;

Aubin, and with terrified eyes fixed on him, faltered out my child?"

"M—

"My gravely.

words are plain," replied

he,

"Your child!"

very suddenly to those who confound the date of an act with the date of the secret determination that has preceded it who knows how long ? He dropped Egypt, not, as his small critics fancy, because France and he could not have contrived to hold a corner of Egypt to this day, but because he had discovered he could not make of little Egypt the great stepping-stone he had intended. Take this clew to Napoleon I. ly,

The ends of ordinary geniuses were his means. Their goals his stepping-stones. Goes he to Egypt, be sure he goes for Syria and Assyria, at least. If Moscow Uttle city of huts thinks he went to Moscow for Moscow, it pays itself too great a compliment, and him too small a one. He went to Moscow for Delhi and Canton. And when I think of this trait in him, with all its mental consequences, I come by my art, with regret, to the conclusion, that Napoloen I. was at no period of his career a happy man, nor, with his gigantic estimate of success, what he would call a very successful man nor much gratified by the successes that dazzled all the rest of the world. In the magnitude of his views Napoleon will stand alone among the sons of earth But one trait he till the last trumpet. shared with every successful genius, whether of the sword, the pen, or the brush. Unsuccessful geniuses waste themselves. Sucessful geniuses lay themselves out to advantage 2i,y, economize themselves some by calculation, the rest by instinct. Napoleon was too practical to waste Napoleon long on Egypt. He did not give up the little country of the great pyramids in dehe flung it up by calculation. spair The globe offered greater prizes and the globe was his province.





;

:



CHAPTER XXXVI. Rien n'est certain que Vimprevu. " Our success leads to no great results, and I fear we shall be a long time in this confounded country." So wrote Raynal. Forty-eight hours after he was sailing Franceward with General Bonaparte. That great man dropped Egypt sudden-

:



He came

swiftly

back to Paris, and

Raynal, who was on his staff, came with him, but not to stay. He was to go off, without a day's delay, to the Rhine with dispatches and a command as brigadier in that

arm v.

"

WHITE CHAPTER XXXVII. **YOUR CHILD " !

When when

the doctor repeated these words, Josephine, looking- in his face, saw

he spoke from knowledge, however acquired, and not from guess, she glided down slowly off the sofa, and clasped his knees as he stood before her, and hid her face in an agony of shame and terror on In this attitude they were his knees. Laure, who had slipped back by surprised (on a pretense of forgetting her gloves) to see what St. Aubin had to say to Jo-

not invited to aid you, incapable of betraying you." As he concluded these words, Laure came running toward him with tearful eyes, and flung both her arms round his neck.

" Ah, is

my

poor child " said he ; *' this not a secret for one of your age to

know

!

!

"Josephine did not

Laure opened the door softly. She did not arrive soon enough to hear the terbut she saw her sister rible words trembling at the doctor's knees, and she herself stood white and panting. ;

could

it

mean?"

Forgive me !" cried Josephine, in a Oh, pray choking voice ''forgive me Do not destroy do not expose me **



!

!

me!" Laure lowered her head and darted behind a large screen that stood in the room, unseen either by the doctor, whose back was turned to her, or by her sister, who was hiding her eyes against the doctor's knees.

The doctor raised Madame Raynal against her will. She was so ashamed she could not bear him to see her face. But he made her sit, and held one of her hands, and soothed her terror, while she turned from him and hid her face on her hand, and her hand on a corner of the couch. " Shall I ever expose or wound you, foolish one ? This is to keep you from exposing and destroying yourself. Unhappy child, did you think you had deceived me, or that you are fit to deceive any but

the blind ? Your face, your anguish after Colonel Dujardin's departure your languor, and then your sudden robustness, your appetite, your caprices, your strange sojourn at Frejus, your changed looks, and loss of health on your return ? Josephine, your old friend has passed many an hour thinking of you, divining your folly, following your trouble step by step,



tell

me," was the

prompt answer. Strange that nobody should think me a proper person to be trusted " said the **

!

doctor.

Dear doctor if I had respected you less, I could have borne to confess to you." " No, no you feared me. You had no cause. You did not trust me. You had every reason to. I will show you I was not quite unworthy of the confidence you denied me. First, I was worthy of it, be''

sephine.

"What

213

LIES.

!

!

cause I never lost my confidence in you, Josephine. Here were all the signs of an Well, what did I say ? illicit attachment. I went to I said, I know my Josephine. the mairie at Frejus upon a very different I got a sight of the books, and a minute I found Camille's name and yours. Such was my confidence in you,

pretense. in

who had none

in me. I said there must have been a marriage of some sort." The doctor looked round, triumphant Alas he missed in his own sagacity. !

the merited applause.

Josephine looked

in his face, puzzled.

''Dear friend," said she, hesitating. " I do not quite understand j'^ou. I know your sagacity, but since you had discovered I was a a mother, of course you know I must be a wife. How could I be a mother, you know, unless I was a wife

——

first ?

"

The doctor wore a look

half satirical,

he took a pinch of snuff. half tender very true," said he, mighty is "That " Well, I revoke my claim to dryly. intelligence on that score. Let us try Mivart sent yon some soothing again. draughts after my visit to Frejus magI prescribed them." ical ones, eh ? " Is it possible ? dearest, best of friends :



— ah

!

you."

I

have been very culpable toward

"

:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

214

** Trj'' ag-ain a fortnight ago, I was absent two days." " Yes and you never told us where you had been." " I was at Frejus that virulent disease the smallpox was there." " Oh, Heaven " and Josephine Clasped her hands in terror. "The danger is past. I heard of it. Instantly I got some vaccine from Paris, and I went over to Frejus, for I said to mys0lf The doctor never said it to anybody but himself for ere he concluded his sentence he was almost stifled with embraces and kisses by the young mother. In the midst of which she ended his sentence for him. " You said I saved Josephine's life, " I will save her boy.' '* We are beginning to understand one another," said the doctor, with a strong tendency to whimper, for which he took a pinch of snuff as antidote. *'Now, :

I

:

!

— :

'

:

dears, I will tell you

and you shall

we

tell

what

me

will act in concert.

of Raynal's death.

I

have divined,

the rest, and then

The news came

You thought

yourself

that I understand. But why marr3'^ so soon^ and why not marry openly ?" Said Laure, hastily

free,

**

It

was

all his

fault."

Whose ? " *' No no "

*'

" It was said Josephine. not his fault ah do not throw the blame on the absent and the unhappy." " I am not going to blame him much. He was a man, and required what I believe all young men do that she should sacrifice every feeling to him. He said, if 3'^ou love me you will marry me before the priest and erase from our minds that other marriage. She refused." !

!



!



*'Say, rather, I hesitated."

"Well!

she

declined:

then he

re-

proached her " !

"Never! doctor, dear doctor, Camille never reproached me he only pitied away and doubted my love. My resolution failed I wanted to make everybody happy I volunteered to marr^'- him secretly, not to give my mother pain." " She volunteered " cried Laure, im:

:

:

!

" It was I who forced that measure on her I alone am to

patiently. fatal

:

blame it is she alone who suffers." " Oh, concealment concealment " cried the doctor. "But you are punished more than you deserve. I understand it all too well your story is but the story of your sex self-sacrifice. I dare say you sacrificed your heart to your mother in marrying Colonel Ray:

!



!

!



lial."

" She did !— she did " "Then you sacrificed every feeling but pity to your lover. And now you will sacrifice everything to your husband." " He IS well worthy of any sacrifice I can make," said Josephine " but oh, sir, " if you knew how hard it is to me to live !

;

!

"

hope to make

I

less

it

hard to you

ere long," said the doctor quietly. He then congratulated himself on having forced Josephine to confide in him. "For," said he, "j'^ou never needed an experienced friend more than at this moment. Your mother will not always be

Edouard

so blind as of late.

suspi-

is

Jacintha is a shrewd young woman, and very inquisitive." Here the young ladies interchanged a look, but were ashamed to own they had taken Jacintha into their confidence; "I do not dwell much on the terrible event of Raynal's immediate return; today's letter renders that improbable. But improbable is not impossible ; and where all is possible, and all is danger, the severest caution is necessary first, " then, what are your own plans ? cious.

:

"J

don't know," said Josephine, help-

lessly.

" You

—don't—know

!

" cried the doc-

looking at her in utter amazement. is the answer of a madwoman, is Doctor, I am little better. it not ? My foot has slipped on the edge of a precipice. I close my eyes, and let myself glide down it. What will become of me ?" " All shall be well if you do not still tor,

"It

love that

"I

How

man."

shall love

can

him

to

my

last breath.

help loving him ? four years. I was

I

loved me trothed. I wronged

him

in

my

He had his

be-

thoughts.



:

:

WHITE War,

prison, anguish, could not kill

he loved

me

my

He

so.

him

;

struggled bleeding

feet and could I let him die, after Could I be crueler than prison and " torture and despair?

to

:

all ?

The doctor sighed deeply ; but, arming himself with the necessary resolution, he said sternl}^

" Josephine, a woman of your name cannot vacillate between love and honor; such vacillations have but one end. I will not let you drift a moral wreck between passion and virtue and that will be your ;

lot if

you hesitate now."

Hesitate

**

!

Who dares to say I have my honor is concerned ?

hesitated where

You can read our bodies then, but not our hearts. What you see me so pale, forlorn, and dead, and that does not tell you I have bid Camille farewell forever ? " ** Is it possible ? Give me your hand it was well and wisely and nobly done. And, who knows? kindl}'^ too, perhaps." Josephine continued *' That we might be safer still, I have not even told him he is a father. Was woman ever so cruel as I am ? I have written him but one letter and in that I must deceive him. I told him I thought I might one day be happy, if I could hear that he did not give way to despair; I told him we must never meet again in this world. So now dispose of me. Show me m}'- duty, and I will do it. This falsehood wrings my heart shall I tell my husband the truth ? " !

;

;

*'

Oh no

no!" cried Laure, Colonel Raynal would

let her. **

If

stop

I

!

"do

not her." should

kill

thought that, nothing telling him."

me from

The doctor objected. " What, tell him, while he

is in

Egypt ?

while his return alive is uncertain ? need" less cruelty *'And then mj'' mother!" sighed Jo!

my

poor mother She would hear it, and it would break her heart I should wound her to death and I love her so. I always loved her but not as I do since Now that I know what she has suffered for me, my very heart yearns at sight of her dear face. I must lose her one day, I know but if my misconduct sephine,

''

!

!

:

:



:



— — LIES.

215



were to hasten that day oh it is too horrible. This is my hope that poor Raynal will be long absent, and that, ere he returns, mamma will lie safe from sorrow and shame in the little chapel. Doctor, when a woman of my age forms such wishes as these, I think you might pity her, and forgive her ill treatment of you, for she cannot be very happy. Ah me ah me ah me " ** Courage poor soul All is now in my hands and I will save you," said the doctor, his voice trembling in spite of him. " Sin lies in the intention. A more innocent woman than you does not breathe. Two courses la}"^ open to you to leave this house with Camille Dujardin, or to dismiss him, and live for your hard duty till it shall please Heaven to make that duty easy (no middle course was tenable for a day) of these two paths you chose the right one, and, having chosen, you are not called on to reveal your misfortune, and make those unhappy to whose happiness you have sacrificed your own for years to come." " Forever " said Josephine quietly. " The young use that word St. Aubin. lightly. The old Have almost ceased to use it. They have seen how few earthly things can conquer time." He resumed !

:

!

!

!

!

!

:

;

!

" You think only of others, Josephine, but I shall think of you as well. I shall not allow your life to be wasted in a needless struggle against nature." Laure looked puzzled: so the doctor explained. Her griefs were as many, before her child was born, yet her health stood firm. Why ? because nature was on her side. Now she is sinking into the grave. Why ? because she is defying nature. Nature intended her to be pressing her child to her bosom day and night instead of that, a peasant woman at Frejus nurses the child, and ;

the mother pines at Beaurepaire. Through all this, Josephine leaned her face on her hands and her hands on the doctor's shoulder. In this attitude she

murmured to him "I have only seen him once came from Frejus."

since I

— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

216

" Poor thing " " Since you permit

I will

it

morrow." ''You will do nothing

go there

of the kind.

second journey thither, when the has awakened Edouard's suspicions

to-

A

first ?

I

forbid it."

Josephine was seized with one of her fits of irritation.

" Take care,"

round

all I lived for

:

but

I

if

am

never to have

arms round me to console me, there why torment me any longer ? Why not say to me, Josephine, you have offended Heaven pray for pardon and little



'

:

die

'

?

"

" I mean j'^ou to spend, not hours, but months, beside your child," said the doctor.

"Oh!" "Through him life,

of

mean

so precious to us

helpless soul is

I

is

to save your

all.

That

little

your guardian angel, he

some time to come your one fount hope and consolation. But it is not at

for

Frejus you shall meet, not in a chattering village within a ride of Edouard, but in that great city where nobody knows or cares what goes on next door." "In Paris " cried Laure. " Certainly I shall go there to-morrow, the first thing. I shall take a house where I can receive you both and outside the barrier, where the air is purest, Madame Jouvenel and her nursling shall live on the fat of the land, and you shall spend the days with them. After all, my nephew was not such a fool as they say. He divined what good uses some of his money would be put to by his ancestor." Josephine's delight and gratitude were somewhat dashed when the doctor told her all this would take three weeks, and that he would not go to Paris unless she now promised him on her honor not to go to Frejus in his absence. !

:

;

She hesitated. "Promise, dear," said Laure, with an intonation so fine that it attracted Josephine's notice, but not the doctor's.

equally

subtle.

"I promise," said Josephine, with her eye fixed inquiringly on her sister. For once she could not make the telegraph out but she could see it was playing, and that was enough. She did what ;

Laure bid her. " I promise. Ah Forgive me." " Forgive you ? what for ? " " I sighed. It was ungrateful." " I forgive you, black-hearted creature," said the doctor, "but only upon conditions. You must keep your, word about Frejus, and you must also promise me not to go kissing every child you see. Edouard tells me he saw you kissing a beggar's brat. The young rogue was going to quiz you about it at the dinner-table; luckilj^, he told me his intention, and I would not let him. I said the baroness would be annoyed with you for descending from your dignity and exposing a noble family to fieas hush here he is." "Tiresome!" muttered Laure, just when Edouard came forward, with a !

cried she, pecking

at the doctor like an irritated pigeon, "don't be too cruel to me. You see I am obedient, resigned. I have given up

my boy's

was followed by a glance

It

!







!

half -vexed face.

However, he turned

"Won't

the

it off in

doctor give

play. j^ou

your

gloves? "

"Scold him rather for interesting me for it is he who has detained me." " What have you been saving to her, monsieur, to interest her so ? Give me a leaf out of your book. I need it." The doctor was taken aback for a moment, but at last he said, slyly " I told her nothing that will not interest her as much from your lips. I have so

:

been proposing to her to name the day. She says she must consult you before she decides that."

" Oh, you wicked doctor Mm, of all people "

!

— and

consult

!

St. Auhin. "So be off, both of you, and don't reappear till it is settled." Edouard. " Come, mademoiselle, 3'ou and I are de trop here." Edouard's eyes sparkled. Laure went

out with a face as red as fire. Edouard was It was a balmy evening. to leave them for a week the next day. They were alone Laure was determined :

— WHITE he should

g-o SiWd^y

quite happy.

-"

Every-

was in Edouard's favor he pleaded his cause warmly she listened tenderly this happy evening- her piquancy and archthing-

:

;

;

ness seemed to dissolve with tenderness as she and Edouard walked hand in hand under the moon; a tenderness all the more heavenly to her devoted lover that she was not one of those ang-els that cloy a man by invariable sweetness. For a little while she forg-ot everything but her companion. In that soft hour he won her to name the day. *' Josephine goes to Paris with the doctor in about three weeks," murmured she. " And you will stay behind, all alone ? " " Alone ? that shall depend on you,

monsieur " !

On

this

.

Edouard caught her

!

LIES.

!

217

three weeks' time we are to have too much of one another, j'ou know, instead of too little."

" Too much I

j'-ou.

dear Edouard." with these words something returned to her mind with its full force something that Edouard had actually made her forget for more than an hour. How should she get rid of him now without hurting his feelings ? "Edouard," said she, " can j^ou get up ''It is late,

early in the morning ? If you can, meet me here to-morrow before any of them are up then we can talk without interruption." :

Edouard was delighted. "Eight o'clock?"

"No! no!"

"Yes, it is." " Well, we must not mind, dear

we meet." " That

is a bargain. But I won't go you say you love me again." " Edouard, don't be sill3^ I am ashamed of saying the same thing so often I won't say it any more. What till



the use ? You know I love you. There, I have said it how stupid " " Adieu, then, my wife that is to be."

is

:

in

!

"Adieu! dear Edouard."

"My

hus



Go on— my

hus



that shall be."

Then they walked very slowly toward the house, and once more Laure left quizzing, and was all tenderness. "Will you not come '

good-night

'

?

in,

and bid them

"

"No, my own.

I

am

in heaven.

Com-

mon faces, common voices, would bring me down to earth. Let me be alone !

your sweet words ringing in my ear. I will dilute you with nothing meaner than the stars. See how bright they shine in heaven but not so bright as you shine :

my

heart."

"Dear Edouard,

;

and Next time

she, laughing

said

"Don't be rude.

blushing.

in

" Sooner if 3'ou like. Mamma bade me come and read to her in her room tonight. She will be waiting for me. Is it not tiresome? "

have enough

!

"Band

And

I shall never

:

dryly.

''Ah! not yet."

!

shall hate

the night which will rob me of the sight of you for so many hours in the twenty-four." "If you can't see me, perhaps you may hear me my tongue runs by night as well as by day." "Well! that is a comfort," said Edouard, gravely. "Yes, little quizzer, I would rather hear you scold than an angel sing. Judge, then, what music it is when you say you love me " I love you, Edouard." Edouard kissed her hand warmly, and then looked at her face. of

for the

time in his arms. Bhe made but a faint resistance. ''Seal me that promise, sweet one!" '' No no !—there " He pressed a dehcious first kiss upon two velvet lips, that in their innocence scarcely shunned the sweet attack. For all that, the bond was no sooner sealed after this fashion than the lady's cheek began to burn. She had been taken by surprise. *• Suppose we go in now ? " said she, first



""

spoil

me.

worthy

Alas

3'ou flatter

why am

!

3'our love

?

I

me, you not more

"

"More worthy How can that be ? " Laure sighed. " But I will atone for all. I will make you a better (here she substituted a full !





— WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

218

stop for a substantive)

You

—than you expect.

will see else."

the door a proof that Edouard, at that particular moment, had seized another kiss, there would have been no very violent opposition or Slie lingered at

;

if

offense.

But he was not

so impudent as some. been told to wait till next meeting- for that. He prayed Heaven to bless her, and so the affianced lovers parted for the night. It was about nine o'clock. Edouard, instead of returning to his lodgings, started down toward the town, to conclude a bargain with the inn-keeper for an English mare he was in- treaty for. He wanted her for to-morrow's work so that decided him to make the purchase. In purchases, as in other matters, a feather turns the balanced scale. He sauntered leisurely down. It was a very clear night the full moon and the stars shining silvery and vivid. Edouard's heart swelled with joy. He was loved, •

:

deeply loved and in three short weeks he was actually to be Laure's husband her lord and master. How like a heavenly dream it all seemed the first hopeless courtship, and now the all,

;

:

But it was no dream he felt her soft words still murmur music at his heart, and the shadow of her velvet wedding

fixed

He had

:

!

upon

lips slept

his

own. a league when he

strolled about

heard the ring of a horse's hoofs coming toward him, accompanied by a clanking noise it came nearer and nearer, till it reached a hill that lay a little ahead of Edouard then the sound ceased the cavalier was walking his horse up the hill. Presently, as if they had started from the earth, up popped between Edouard and the sky first a cocked hat that seemed, in that light, to be cut with a razor out of flint, then the wearer, phosphorescent here and there so brightly the keen moonlight played on his epaulets :

:

:

;

and

Raynal laughed. I

He had

after

questions and answers, Rajmal told him he was on his way to the Rhine with dispatches. " ^' To the Rhine ?

steel scabbard.

A

step or two nearer, and Edouard gave a great shout it was Colonel Ray;

nal.

After the

"I am allowed six daj's to get there. made a calculation, and found I could

give Beaurepaire half a da3\ I shall have to makeup for.it by hard riding. You

know me.

Always in a hurry. It is Bonaparte's fault this time. He is another that is always in a hurry." " Wh}^ colonel," said Edouard, " let us

make

Mind they go early to

haste then.

rest at the chateau."

" But you are not coming my way, youngster? " *'Not coming your way? Yes, but I am. Yours is a face I don't see every daj^, colonel; besides, I would not miss their faces, especially the baroness's and Madame Raynal's, at sight of you and, besides " and the j^oung gentleman chuckled to himself, and thought '• the next time we meet well, thi^ will be the next time. May I jump up behind ? " Colonel Raynal nodded assent; Edouard took a run, and lighted like a monkey on the horse's crupper. He pranced and kicked at this unexpected addition but, the spur being promptly applied to his fianks, he bounded off with a snort that betrayed more astonishment than satisfaction, and awaj'^ they cantered to Beaurepaire without drawing rein. "There," said Edouard, " I was afraid ;



:

;

they would be gone to bed and they are. The very house seems asleep fancy at ;





half past ten."

"That

is

a pity," said Raynal, "for

this chateau is the stronghold of etiquette.

They will be two hours dressing before they can come out and shake hands. I must put my horse into the stable. Go you and give the alarm." " I will, colonel. Stop, first let me see whether none of them are up, after all." And Edouard walked round the chateau, and soon discovered a light at one

window — the window of the tapestried Running round the other way room. he came slap upon another light this one was nearer the ground. A narrow :

first

warm

greeting,

and

— WHITE but massive door, which he had always seen, not only locked, but screwed up, was wide open; and throug-h the aperture the light of a candle streamed out, and met the moonlight streaming- in. ''Hallo " cried Edouard. He stopped, turned, and looked in. " Hallo " he cried ag-ain, much louder. A j'oung- woman was sleeping- with her feet in the silver}'- moonlig-ht, and her head in the orang-e-colored blaze of a flat candle, which rested on the next step above of a fine stone staircase, whose existence was now first revealed to the inquisitive Edouard. Coming plump upon all this so unexpectedly, he quite started. " Why, Jacintha " He touched her on the shoulder to wake her. No. Jacintha was sleeping as only tired domestics can sleep. He might have taken the candle and burned her gown off her back. She had found a step that fitted into the small of her back, and another that supported her head, and there she was fast as the door.

LIES. on rough ground,

!

At

this

moment

E-aynal's voice

was

heard

Are you there ? " Edouard went to him. ''

**

There

*'

It is not

in front of the

enemy's

riflemen."

"

Ha ha !

colonel.

!

this staircase leads. will

I

Let us see where have an idea it

prove a short cut."

"Whereto?"

!

!

219

" To the saloon, or somewhere, or to

some

of Jacintha's haunts.

right for going to sleep at the

else

Serve her

mouth

of

her den."

" Forward then

—no, halt

Suppose it a thundering place for ceremony. We shall get drummed out of the barracks if we don't mind our etiquette." While they hesitated, a soft, delicious harmony of female voices suddenly rose, and seemed to come and run round the walls. The men looked at one another in astonishment ; for the effect was magiThe staircases being inclosed on all cal. sides with stone walls and floored with stone, they were like flies inside a violonleads to the bedrooms

cello

;

!

!

mind

this,

the voices rang above, below, and

on every side of the vibrating walls. In some epochs spirits as hardy as Raynal's and wits as quick as Riviere's would have fled then and there to the nearest public, and told over cups how they had heard the dames of Beaurepaire long since dead

sitting-room now. shall find them all there, or at least the young ladies, and perhaps the doctor. The baroness

holding their revel, and the conscious old devil's nest of a chateau quivering to the ghostly strains. But this was an incredulous age. They listened, and listened, and decided the

goes to bed early. Meantime I can show you one of our dramatis personce, and an important one too. She rules the roast." He took him mysteriously and showed

sound came from upstairs. " Let us mount, and surprise these singing witches," said Edouard. " Surprise them what for ? It is not

him Jacintha. "Hallo!" cried Raynal. ''She can't have much on her conscience." Moonlight by itself seems white, and candlelight by itself seems yellow; but when the two come into close contrast

the enem\^ for once. What is the good of surprising our friends ? " Storming

is

a light in that bedroom." a bedroom, colonel it is our ;

We

at night, candle turns a bloody flame, and moonlight a bluish gleam. So Jacintha, with her shoes in this celestial sheen,

niacal glare,

and her face in that demowas enough to knock the

gazer's eye out.

a good sentinel —this one," said —."an outlying picket for instance.

"Make Raynal

:



parties and surprises were no novelt}^ and therefore no treat to Raynal.

" It will be so delightful to see their faces at first sight of you. Oh, colonel, Don't spoil it all by gofor my sake ing tameh'' in at the front door, after coming at night from Egypt for half an hour." Half a day. It is a childish trick Well, show a light, or we shall surprise ourselves with a broken neck, going over ground we don't know to surprise the !

'•'

!



:

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

220 natives

—our skirmishers

way now and then

Yes, colonel, I will

**

got nicked that

in E«"ypt." g-o first

with Ja-

cintha's candle."



!

Edouard mounted the stairs on tiptoe. Raynal followed. The solid stone steps did not prate. The men had mounted a considerable

been growing" on him for some minutes past. For why was this passage open to-night ? he had never seen it open before And why was Jacintha lying sen-

way when

puff a blast of

wind came through a hole and out went Edouard's candle. He turned sharply round to Raynal. 'Teste ! " said he, in a vicious whisper. But the other laid his hand on his shoulder and whispered,

"Look to the front." He looked, and, own candle being out, saw a glimmer on ahead. He crept toward it. It was his

a taper shooting- a feeble light across a small aperture. They caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a small apartment.

Yet Edouard recognized the carpet of the tapestried room, which was a very large room. Creeping a j^ard nearer, he discovered that it was the tapestried room, and that what had seemed the further wall was only the screen, behind which were lights, and Josephine and Laure singing a duet. He whispered to Raynal: *'It is the tapestried room."

the foot of the stairs ? was not all. Now that they were in the room both the men became conscious of another sound besides the tinel at

But

this

women's voices— a very peculiar sound. It also came from behind the screen. They both heard it, and showed by the puzzled looks they cast at one another that neither could make out what on earth it was. It consisted of a succession of little rustles, followed by little thumps on the floor.

But what was curious, too, this rustle, thump ^rustle, thump — rustle, thump



fell

exactly into the time of the music

so that, clearh', either the rustle

was being" played to the tune, or the tune sung to the rustle thump. This last touch of mysterj^ inflamed Edouard's impatience beyond bearing he pointed eagerly and merrily to the corner of the screen. Raynal obeyed, and stepped \eYy slowly and cautiously toward it. Rustle,

thump " Is it a sitting-room ? " whispered Raynal. " Yes Mind and not knock your foot yes against the wood." " What, am I to go first now ? " " Of course." 1

!

"Why?" "

You are

!

thump

!

rustle,

thump

!

rustle,

with the rhythm of harmonious

voices.

Edouard got

his

head and foot into the

room without taking his eye off Raynal. Rustle, thump rustle, thump rustle, thump Raynal was now at the screen, and !

!

!

the one from Egypt."

"Forward, then."

Raynal went

softly

up and put his foot

quietly through the aperture, which he

now saw was made by a

panel drawn

back close to the ground, and stood in the tapestried chamber. The carpet was favored the thick the ladies' stealthy advance; the floor of the old house was like a rock and Edouard put his face through the aperture, glowing all over with anticipation of the little scream of joy that would welcome his friend dropping' in so nice and suddenly ;

;

thump

voices

;

from Eg.ypt. The feeling was rendered still more piquant by a sharp curiosity that had

quietly put his head round it, and his hand upon it. Edouard bursting with expectation. No result. What was this ? Don't the^^ see him ? Why does he not speak to them ? He seems transfixed.

Rustle,

thump

!

rustle,

thump

!

accom-

panied now for a few notes by one voice only, Laure's. Suddenly there burst a shriek from Josephine, so loud, so fearful, that it made even Raynal stagger back a step, the screen in his hand. Then another scream of terror and anguish from Laure. Then a fainter cry, and the heavy, helpless fall of a human body.

WHITE Rajmal sprang" forward, whirling* the screen to the earth in terrible agitation, and Edouard bounded over it as it fell at his feet. He did not take a second step. The scene that caug-ht his eye stupefied and paralyzed him in full career, and him to the spot with amazement and strang-e misgiving's.

LIES.

221

est of all deaths My friend, I am a wicked, miserable girl. I am the cause " of all this misery !

!

She then told

anonymous

St.

letter,

Aubin all about the and what Raynal had

said to her in consequence.

"He

froze

have married her

never would

Laure parted from Edouard, and went but the next moment she opened it softly and watched

had he known she loved another. He asked me was it so. I told him a falsehood. At least I equivocated, and to equivocate with one so loyal and simple was to deceive him. I am the only sin-

her lover unseen.

ner

in at the front door

:

" she murmured: and " then she thoug-ht, How sad it is that I must deceive him, even to-nig-ht must make up an excuse to get him from me, when we were so happy together. Ah he little knows how I shall welcome our wedding-day. When once I can see my poor martyr on the road to peace and content under the good doctor's care. And oh the happiness of having no

" Dear Edouard

!

:

!

!

more secrets from him I love Dear Edouard when once we are married, I

!

I never,

never will have a secret from

—I

swear it " As a comment on these words she now stepped cautiously out, and peered in

you again

!

every direction. " St st " she !



my

No

an-

swer came to this signal. Laure returned into the house and bolted the door inside. She went up to the tapestried room, and found the doctor in the act of wishing Josephine good-

The baroness, fatigued a little by her walk, had mounted no higher than her own bedroom, which was on the first floor just under the tapestried room. Laure followed the doctor out. **Dear friend, one word. Josephine talked of telling Raynal. You have not encouraged her to do that?" " Certainly not, while he is in Egypt." " Still less on his return. Doctor, you don't know that man. Josephine does not know him. But I do. He would kill her if he knew. He would kill her that minute. He would not wait; he would not listen to excuses he is a man of iron. Or, if he spared her, he would kill Camille: and that would destroy her hy the crudnight.

:

remorse

is

the only sufferer. Doctor,

Heaven?

great.

is

No

one knows

look at my work. love her so much better than I do him. He is wrong it is not love onlj'-, it is pity, it is remorse for the sorrow I have brought on her, and the wrong I have done poor Raynal."

what I feel when Edouard thinks I

I

:

The high-spirited girl was greatly agitated ; and St. Aubin, though he did not acquit her of all blame, soothed her and made excuses for her. " must not always judge by re-

We

" Things turned unfort-

sults," said he.

unately.

You

did for the best.

That

you, for one. if

whispered.

!

that sweet angel

:

Is this the justice of

is,

I forgive

I will forgive you,

you promise not to act again without

vay advice."

" Oh, never never " And, above all., no imprudence about that child. In three little weeks they !

!

*•'

will be together

without risk of discovWell, you don't ailswer me." Laure's blood turned cold. **Dear friend," she stammered, ''I quite agree ery.

with you." ''Promise, then." "Not to let Josephine go to Frejus?" " Oh, yes said Laure hastily. I prom!

ise."

"You are a good child," cried St. Au"You have a will of your own.

bin.

But

3^ou

can submit to age and experi-

ence."

The doctor then kisssd her, and bade her farewell. " I leave for Paris at six in the morning.

your patience or hers Perhaps it will not be

I will not try

unnecessarily.

three weeks."

— "

;

WORKS OF CHARLES READE.

%22

The moment Laure was down and sighed bitterly.

"There

is

no end to " Oh, no

alone, she sat

it," she

sobbed,

never get clear of it. It is like a spider's web every strug-g-le to be free but multiplies the fine but irresistible thread that seems to bind me. And to-nig-ht I thought to be so happy instead of that he has left me scarce the heart to do what I have to do." She went back to the room, opened a window, and put out a white handkerchief then closed the window down on despairingl3^

!

1 shall

;

:



of the room, pressed against the wall, and at the same time put her other hand against the rim of one of the panels and pushed it laterally it yielded, and at the opening stood Jacintha in her cloak and :

bonnet. ''Yes," said cloak—look "

Jacintha,

*'

under

my

!

" Ah !—you found the things on the steps ? "

Yes I nearly tumbled over them. Have you locked that door, mademoi*•

!

selle ?

"

"No!

but I will." And Laure glided and locked it. Then she put

to the door

it.

Then she went to Josephine's bedroom door it opened on the tapestried room. "Josephine," she cried, '^don't go to bed just yet." " No, love. What are you doing ? " **0h, nothing particular. I want to

the screen up between Josephine's room and the open panel then she and Jacintha were wonderfully busy on the other side of the screen, but presently

talk to you presently."

to the foot of the stairs and wait

:

" Shall I come out to you, Laure ? " " No, stay where you are." Laure sat down, and took a book. She could not read it. Then she took some work, and put it down. Then she went to a window not the one where she had left the handkerchief. She looked out upon the night. Then she walked restlessly up and down ;

the room. glided into the corridor, and passed her mother's room and the doc-

and listened to see if all was quiet. While she was gone, Josephine opened her door but, not seeing Laure in the

tor's,

;

sitting-room, retired again.

Laure returned softlj^ and sat down with her head in her hand, in a calm attitude belied b}'^ her glancing eye and the quick tapping of her other hand upon the table.

Presently she raised her head quickly a sound had reached her ear, a sound so slight that none but a high-strung ear could have caught it. It was like a mouse giving a single scratch against a stone wall.

Laure coughed slightly. this a clearer sound was heard, as

On

finger-nail.

Laure said " This

is

imprudent

you must go down

:

till

I

you." Jacintha pleaded hard against this arrangement. "What chance is there of any one coming there ? "No matter! I will be guarded on call

ever\' side."

"Mustn't I stop and just see her hap" py for once ? " No my poor Jacintha, you must hear it from my lips." Jacintha retired to keep watch as she was bid. Laure went to Josephine's room, and threw her arms round her neck and kissed her vehemently. Jo!

Then she

of a person

:

scratching wood with the Laure darted to the side

sephine returned her embrace, then held her out at arm's length and looked at her.

" Your eyes are red yet your little There ^j^ou smile." is full of joy. "I have my reasons." "I am glad of it are you coming to :



face

!

bed

?



"

" Not 3'et. walk with me

I invite first.

you to take a

Come " and !

little

she led

the way slowly, looking back with infinite archness and tenderness. "You almost frighten me," said Josephine, "

when more."

I

it

am

is

not like you to be all joy Three whole weeks

sad.



— WHITE Why

are you sad ? Benob let you go to would cause the doctor **

That

is it

!

And why am

Frejus.

I not sad

?

Be-

cause I had already thoug-ht of a way to let you see Edouard without going- so far."

" Oh, Laure **This way come!" and she smiled and beckoned with her finger ; while Josephine followed like one under a spell, her bosom heaving, her eye glancing on every side, hoping some strange joy, yet scarce daring to hope.

"Oh, Laure

Oh, Laure

!

!

!



Laure drew back the screen, and there was a sweet little herceau that had once been Josephine's own, and in it, sunk deep in snow-white lawn, was a sleeping child, that lay there looking as a rose might look cquld it fall upon new-fallen snow. At sight of it Josephine uttered a little cry, not loud, but deep a^', a cry to bring tears into the eye of the hearer, and she stood trembling from head to foot, her hands clasped, and her ej^e fascinated and fixed on the cradle. " My child under this roof What have you done ? " but her eye, fascinated and fixed, never left the cradle.



!

"I saw 3'ou want of him."

languishing,

dying,

for

anybody should come? " but her eye never stirred an inch from the '*0h

!

if

cradle.

"No no no the door is locked, Jacintha watches below, there is no dan Ah at last ah poor woman " For, as Laure was speaking, the young !

!

!

!

!

!

!

mother sprang silently upon her child. You would have thought she was going her head reared itself again to kill him and again like a crested snake's, and again and again, and again and again, plunged down upon the child, and she kissed his little body from head to foot with soft violence, and murmured, through her starting tears, "My child my darling my angel oh, my poor boy !

!

!

my

child

!

my

!

child

!

" !

I will ask my female readers of every degree to tell their brothers and husbands all the young noble did. How she sat on the floor and had her child on her bosom ;

;

LIES.

223

how she smiled over it through her tears how she purred over it how she, the ;

stately one, lisped and prattled over it and how life came pouring into her heart

from

it.

Before she had had it in her arms five minutes, her pale cheek was as red as a rose, and her eyes brighter than dia-

monds. " Bless you,